Hundreds of birds have washed up on California beaches in recent weeks as red tide blooms offshore. The algal bloom, which began circulating in Monterey Bay a few weeks ago, has caused hazardous conditions for the birds. Seventy have died and hundreds more have been taken to wildlife centers for treatment, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Biologists originally suspected the San Francisco Bay oil spill of causing the situation, but the damage isn't related. Although a red tide is generally not harmful to humans, skin irritation is possible, and many residents of the Monterey Bay area have stayed away from the shore. This month's die-off of birds is "the worst in 10 years, easily," said a veterinarian.