Birds in the Coastal Bend area near Corpus Christi are beginning to die horrible deaths, coated in oil believed to be from the Houston Ship Channel tanker crash last week, 1200 WOAI"s Berit Mason reports.


  Greg Beuerman is with 'Incident Command,' the post set up by the General Land Office in the Coastal Bend to try to keep the oil out of the sensitive waters of the Aransas Wildlife Refuge and other areas.


  "We have egrets, a loon, three herons, one duck, a northern gannet," Beuerman told 1200 WOAI news, ticking off the birds which have been found dead from oil contamination.


  Beuerman says so far, the oil has not affected the area of the Wildlife Refuge where the endangered whooping cranes spend the winter.  The majestic cranes are just now in the process of returning to their summer homes in Canada.


  "The oil seems to have ended its progression to the south," Beuerman said.  "Any areas with oil contamination appear to be along certain stretches of shoreline."


  While tar balls have been seen off Bob Hall Pier and J.P. Luby Beach in Port Aransas, so contamination from the oil has been seen.


  "Matagorda, South Mustang Island, along the Northern Part of Padre Island National Seashore" are among the areas which have been touched by the oil, Beuerman said.