Submitted by Steve on 17:54, 16th Jan, 2015 | 0

With all of the rough weather the first oiled sea bird arrived at the GSPCA yesterday.

Last year tens of thousands of sea birds were oiled and killed due to the sustained bad weather.

Thankfully a number of the birds last winter were rescued and successfully rehabilitated and released back to the wild thanks to the team at the GSPCA.

Frank as the guillemot has been named was found near the Fairy Rink in Pleinmont.

He has survived his first night and is currently in an intensive care unit and although quite weak the team are hopeful.

Yvonne Chauvel Senior Animal Care Assistant said "Every year during the winter months when the bad weather hits our shores we often find starving, tired and oiled birds around our coast."

"The rough sea can churn up oil that has settled on the sea bed which birds get contaminated when they land on the water, loose their water coating and then loose their strength."

"We are hopeful that Frank will make it, but we don't know how much he has ingested trying to clean himself."

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said "This time last year at the GSPCA we were inundated with oiled birds, the two seals and even the dolphin rescue."

"We have a page full of advice on what to do if you find injured wildlife which you can find by going to or please call us on 101481 257261."

"Did you know you could help us with our wildlife by sponsoring them through our Angel Pen Pal Sponsorship Scheme which you can see by going to"

Here is some simple advice on what to do if you find sea life affected by any oiled substance -

  • Do not risk your safety by looking for or picking up birds from dangerous locations. Be aware of the tides and weather conditions.
  • If you do find an oiled bird and it is safe to pick it up, ensure that you are wearing gloves because the oil could be hazardous to your health. The birds may also try to peck you, so keep them away from your face.
  • Collected birds should be placed on their own in cardboard boxes with newspaper or a towel. DO NOT use hay or straw. The boxes should have ventilation holes.
  • Call the GSPCA 24 hour help line on 01481 257261 or take the bird directly to the Animal Shelter in St Andrews
  • Please do not attempt to wash or feed the bird yourself - leave that to the Shelter staff and volunteers who have the correct training and facilities.

The GSPCA receives dozens of birds every year due to a variety of oiled substances but this simple advice can help save those birds in need.

The Guillemot

The UK's coasts have many stretches of cliffs where seabirds breed such as the 950'000 pairs of Guillemots live and breed around the UK. They comes to land only to nest, spending the most of their life at sea, where like Dave and his friends are vulnerable to oil spills. Guillemots are dark brown and white, not as black as the similar Razorbill, it has a 'bridled' form with a white ring round the eye and stripe behind it. Their Latin name is Uria aalge and they are part of the Auks (Alcidae) family. In winter they are widespread around UK coasts but usually well offshore. However during bad weather such as gales they can be forced inland. They feed on fish and crustaceans and you are best to see them between May and July when they breed.


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