Concerns over dead birds on Devon and Cornwall beaches

Dead bird on beach between Downderry and Seaton More than 100 birds were found dead on part of a beach between Downderry and Seaton

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Dead birds have been washed up on beaches in Devon and Cornwall, the RSPCA has said.

It said it had received reports of birds being washed up at Port Wrinkle and Whitsand in Cornwall, as well as Wembury and Heybrook Bay in Devon.

More than 100 birds were found dead on one section of beach between Downderry and Seaton, in south-east Cornwall, on Sunday morning.

Dog walkers have been told to keep their pets away.

BBC reporter Jane Chandler said RSPCA staff were "taking away sackfuls of dead birds" between Downderry and Seaton.

Dead and alive birds were also reported covered in an oily substance on a beach at Bantham in south Devon.

Emaciated birds

The deaths follow those of scores of other birds covered in a "sticky substance" being washed up on the south coasts of the counties in the past week.

More than 90 birds covered in the substance, mostly guillemots, washed up between Mevagissey in Cornwall to Kingsbridge in Devon.

The RSPCA said its West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton, Somerset, was still looking after more than 60 birds.

It said: "Most of the birds are in an emaciated condition suggesting that whatever [pollutant] they encountered has prevented them from diving down to feed for several days."

It added that about 25 had to be put down.

The cause of the substance has not been identified, but the birds are believed to have been covered in the same substance that affected hundreds earlier in the year.

In February, more than 300 birds, mainly guillemots and some razorbills, were taken in by the RSPCA after being found covered in glue-like polyisobutene.

The latest incidents include reports of dead gannets.

On Saturday, the RSPCA said that for all the affected birds found washed up on land, it was likely "more are dying out in the Channel".

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