The birds are suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, lack of food and injuries after recent rough winter storms in the area.
"Many seabirds can endure stormy days on the waves, but younger or weaker birds can quickly find themselves stranded on ocean beaches, vulnerable to serious injury and even death," said Jennifer Convy, wildlife department director for PAWS, which shelters homeless animals and rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife.
With the grebes now requiring intensive care, PAWS is in need of small pet dryers commonly used at kennels and pet grooming shops. PAWS could also use donated bed sheets and the services of an electrician. To donate a pet dryer, contact PAWS at 425-787-2500, ext. 815.
Western grebes and other seabirds are not built for maneuvering on land. Once beached, the birds' feathers accumulate sand and debris, damaging the waterproofing and insulating properties of feathers that protect the birds.
As long as they remain on land, they are unable to forage, escape danger or properly preen to restore their waterproofing. Without help, many succumb to hypothermia, dehydration or starvation.
At PAWS, the birds are placed in pools regularly to allow them to preen sand and other debris from their feathers and then are dried in special pens with the pet dryers.
Convy warns that not all seabirds on beaches need help. People are asked to always call a wildlife rehabilitation center before attempting to rescue birds that might be injured.
"We can ask the right questions to determine if a seabird or any wild animal needs help, as well as talk people through how to safely pick up and transport an animal to PAWS or other wildlife rehabilitation center," Convy said.
For questions regarding an injured or stranded seabird or other wild animal, call PAWS at 425-787-2500, ext. 817.
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