Final bird contaminated by mystery goo released back into Bay

SAUSALITO, Calif. (KTVU) - And then there was one. The last so-called "mystery goo" bird was released into the Bay Wednesday at Fort Baker in Sausalito. "I'm just happy this bird is back out in the wild right now," said Russ Curtis, spokesman for International Bird Rescue. "You're the last one, guy!"

The two year old male surf scoter is the 165th bird to be released from the "mystery goo" event. It flew out of its box and did a loop around the Bay at Fort Baker, testing out its wings.

About 500 sea birds were impacted by the spill. The source of it is still a mystery. "It's just really a mysterious response in so many ways," Curtis remarked. "We've never had something quite like this."

Seventy percent of the 500 birds impacted by the spill were surf scoters, like the one released Wednesday. "They're very vocal and they have a little attitude to them," Curtis said of the surf scoters. "A very Bay Area bird!"

The last bird to be released was tagged "B-85". It was one of the first to arrive at International Bird Rescue on the first day of the spill emergency on January 16th. Complications forced a toe amputation and more time in rehab, so that the bird that was one of the first in, was the last one out the door.

The box it traveled to its release in had a note stuck to it reading, "thanks for all the fish". Now it will fish for its own food.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife said the investigation into the "mystery goo" spill is still open, but without a known source, the science is slow.

Eight labs around the country and internationally are working on it. "It tells us it's still a really big mystery and we haven't been able to unlock it," Curtis said. His non-profit is hoping to recoup the $150,000 cost of rehabilitating birds if a responsible party is found. "This is so unusual," he said. "I do hope they find out what it is at some point."

Investigators are asking for the public's help to help put the puzzle pieces together.

Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman, Alexia Retallack said "someone out there knows something." The tip line is (888) 334-CALTIP. You can remain anonymous.