Jay Holcomb, pioneer in bird rescue, dies at 63

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Updated: 6/12 7:01 pm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jay Holcomb, who led bird rescue efforts at some of the world's biggest oil spills during his leadership at International Bird Rescue, has died in Central California. He was 63.

Andrew Harmon, a spokesman for the wildlife organization, said in a statement Wednesday that Holcomb died in Modesto, surrounded by family and friends. The cause was kidney cancer.

Holcomb's career in bird rescue began in 1971 after two tankers collided in San Francisco Bay, releasing more than 800,000 gallons of oil. He became executive director of IBR in 1986, and led or helped to lead rescue efforts for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and dozens of other emergencies.

Holcomb is survived his mother, Joan Finney, sisters Judy Craven and Marianne Groth; and brother Don Stauffer.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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