CBS is reporting that an unidentified substance is killing hundreds of birds along the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. Scientists have ruled out fish and vegetable oil or petroleum as the culprit, but the mystery goo has yet to be identified.
“This is a true mystery. It has the consistency of rubber cement,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife Information Officer Andrew Hughan said.
The goo sticks to birds feathers preventing the birds from staying warm and causing hypothermia. More than 200 birds have been found dead and more than 300 are being treated at the International Bird Rescue.
A spokesman for the International Bird Rescue is also at a loss. “We have helped to manage oil spill events and other emergency events around the world, but this is a very difficult product,” she said.
Usually, the treatment for cleaning up birds after oil spills is Dawn dishwashing detergent, but that method isn’t working on the goo.
“We’re having to soften it, if you will, with first baking soda, into the feathers and then taking that off with some household vinegar,” the spokesman said.
The EPA has joined in the quest to determine what the mystery goo is but to no avail.
The International Bird Rescue is spending about $8,000 a day to nurse the birds back to health.