An RSPCA wildlife centre in Nantwich, Cheshire, has appealed for donations of washing-up liquid after 20 oiled birds were rescued from a canal in Tamworth.
The birds - 17 Canada geese and three greylag geese - were all taken to RSPCA Stapeley Grange for assessment and to be cleaned.
The RSPCA say it is vital that affected birds receive treated as soon as possible, because if oil is not removed from waterbirds it reduces the natural waterproofing in their plumage, leaving them at risk of dying from hypothermia.
It can take two members of staff at wildlife centres like RSPCA Stapeley Grange 30 minutes for each wash of oil-covered birds, and sometimes several deep cleans are needed to remove all of the oil.
Lee Stewart, manager at Stapeley Grange, said: "Cleaning just one bird can use half a bottle of washing-up liquid, and oiled birds sometimes need to have multiple washes to be completely cleaned of the oil - so staff will get through a large number of bottles over the next few weeks."
We will get through our stockpile of Fairy liquid pretty quickly with these oiled birds so we would be grateful for any donations. Our oiled birds are washed using Fairy original liquid, which is found to be the best product to remove oil from birds."
Donations for RSPCA Stapeley Grange can be dropped off at the wildlife centre in London Road, Nantwich, or at a donation point situated at Sainsbury’s in Nantwich, which supports the centre.
There are reports that there are 15 more affected birds on this canal so we need to be prepared for more to come in to us. It is frustrating to think that these poor birds could have been spared so much distress if the irresponsible person who dumped the oil had disposed of it correctly.”
The RSPCA would recommend anyone who sees pollution on water or land to call the Environment Agency 24-hour incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.
Concerns for a wild animal that has come into contact with oil or other contaminants should be reported to the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency line on 0300 1234 999.