It could be days before the true scale of the pollution spill affecting sea birds on the south coast is known, wildlife experts said today.
A change in wind direction could have killed thousands more birds after scores were found washed ashore along England's south coast.
Increasing numbers of birds are washing up on the south coast after being covered in a mysterious substance.
RSPCA staff attempt to treat some of the 100 birds that have washed up on Dorset's beaches, covered in a sticky, greasy substance.
Some have died but most have been taken an RSPCA Wildlife centre. Many have sore legs and early signs are that they are not responding well. And the number of birds coming in has been increasing in the last few hours.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency have collected samples of this sticky substance for testing . It's not thought to be fuel. But untill its identified, the RSPCA are advising walkers to take care.
Members of the public are being warned about handling distressed birds on the south coast.
During the past 24 hours, a number of live birds have washed up on beaches covered in an unknown substance.
While the substance is being identified, agencies are urging people to avoid coming into contact with the birds and to keep pets away from the shoreline.
If anyone spots an affected bird or animal, they should report it to the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
Video just in of bird rescue off Dorset coast. More than 100 birds have been found covered in a sticky substance.
More than 100 sea birds have washed up on the Dorset/Devon coast. The birds are coated in a greasy film and apparently have very sore legs, but it's not clear what has happened to them. RSPCA officers are on the scene and are working to help the guillemots.
RSPCA officers frantically work to help sea birds that have been washing up on Dorset's coast. More than 100 have been covered in a greasy substance - but experts say it isn't fuel.
Manager of RSPCA West Hatch Peter Venn said: "We do not know what this substance is or where it has come from yet but we do know it is not fuel. It may be bi-product from manufacture, but at this stage we just do not know."
More than 100 sea birds have washed up on the Dorset coast, covered in a sticky substance. They're now being treated by RSPCA rescuers.
Manager of RSPCA West Hatch Peter Venn said: “The numbers of birds arriving in to our centre are growing and we are doing all we can to help them - but it is too early to tell how successful these attempts will be.
“We do not know what this substance is or where it has come from yet but we do know it is not fuel. It may be bi-product from manufacture, but at this stage we just do not know.
“We would urge anyone who finds any of these birds to contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
“There are also reports of the sticky substance washing up on the beach, so we would urge people walking their dogs in the area to also be careful.”
The RSPCA has been called to the rescue of more than 100 sea birds being found covered in an unidentified sticky substance.
The guillemots have been found along the Dorset/Devon coast from Weymouth to Torquay covered in the greasy film, many have very sore legs.
They are mainly being found on the near Portland,West Dorset.
The birds are being taken to RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Somerset where efforts to clean them are being made with the usual techniques. It is too early to know whether this has been successful, but the early signs are that they are not responding well.
At present, life is rather difficult for our feathered friends because of the cold and icy weather. We are all being urged to help them by putting out tasty titbits.
The RSPB is recruiting children across our region in a project called the Big School Birdwatch. Our resident twitcher Malcolm Shaw has the story.