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Last Updated: Friday February 25 2005 19:45 GMT

Seabirds helped by beach survey

Fulmars are one of the seabirds being looked at in the survey
Thousands of seabirds like guillemots and fulmars will be helped by a beach survey taking place at the weekend.

Volunteers from the RSPB will be out searching the coastline in north east England for dead seabirds which have been washed up on the shore.

The information will be used to see how the birds died - from starvation, oil pollution or from natural sources.

An RSPB spokesman said the poll was a "valuable tool" in helping the birds, and it could help save them in future.

The RSPB is worried that there could be another incident like in March 2004, when hundreds of fulmars died of starvation and were washed up on the shore.

It's thought this was caused by a shortage of sandeels - small fish which the birds eat.

The government has announced plans for better protection for marine birds and animals, which the RSPB says is good news, but the spokesman added that action is needed urgently and must be enough to make a difference.

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