In the past couple of months at the Falls of Clyde we have received a number of enquiries about Avian Influenza. The first thing I say to anyone enquiring about this is to refer to the gov.uk website and search for ‘Avian Influenza’, this will give you the most up to date news and guidance about it.
At the moment there is an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone which has been extended until 28 February 2017. The Prevention Zone applies to all poultry and captive birds in Scotland, and requires keepers to continue to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds. There is also a GB-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.
The risk to humans is extremely low, although if you see a dead bird please avoid physical contact and report it as soon as possible. The Defra hotline (03459 33 55 77) are currently requesting reports of any dead ducks, geese, swans, gulls, or birds of prey. For all other species, please only report if five or more are found in the same place.
It is extremely unlikely that avian influenza could be transmitted to people by feeding birds in the garden. However, good hygiene at bird feeding stations is always advisable, both to protect garden birds and ourselves. It is also sensible to wash your hands thoroughly after feeding the ducks or other birds, or if you come into contact with bird droppings.
And talking about birds, this week on the reserve I spotted a large flock of around 30 Siskins feeding on the alder trees along the boardwalk and this morning I heard my first ‘drumming’ Great spotted woodpecker of the year. Earlier in the week, I also spotted a pair of Yellow wagtails on the river just above Corra Linn. They were merrily wagging their tails with far too much energy for a Monday morning!
Laura Preston – Falls of Clyde Ranger
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