Avian influenza (bird flu) has been recorded on a number of poultry and gamebird farms in Scotland this winter. In addition dead wild birds have tested positive, across various locations, for the H5N8 strain of the disease.
Avian influenza is a serious disease primarily affecting domestic poultry, which can also be found in wild birds. Waterfowl, including ducks, swans, geese, waders and gulls, are particularly at risk. The Trust, as part of day to day work and within Covid-19 restrictions, is monitoring key wildlife reserves for any signs of a significant increase in the numbers of dead birds. Members of the public can also help by reporting suspected cases to Defra.
What should you report?
If you find a single dead bird of prey, gull or wildfowl species (particularly wild geese, wild ducks and swans), or five or more birds of any other species in the same location and at the same time, please report these incidents to Defra’s national telephone helpline. Call 03459 33 55 77 and select option 7. If you believe a wildlife crime has taken place, please contact Police Scotland by calling 101.
The Scottish Government states that cases of avian flu passing from birds to people are very rare. Despite the low risk of contracting avian flu, please do not pick up any dead birds as they can carry a variety of other diseases.