We are deeply concerned by the spread of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) through wild birds, particularly seabirds, around the UK. You may have seen the devastating impact that the disease is having, particularly on seabird populations on Shetland, the Western Isles and around our coasts. We know now that the disease has sadly reached the south coast.

We are asking members of the public to remain vigilant to Bird Flu. It is highly transmissible to other birds, and whilst the risk to human health is currently small, it is very real. It can also pass to pets, domestic animals and other wild animals.
If you find any dead waterfowl (ducks, swans, geese), gulls, seabirds, birds of prey or more than five of any species together, please report them to Defra on 03459 335577.
We are working with colleagues at the RSPB, Defra, and partners across the islands to coordinate a response should Bird Flu reach the Isles for Scilly. Your help and support is much appreciated.

How to spot avian influenza

Avian influenza can be fatal to birds. Signs of this are:

  • sudden and rapid increase in number of birds found dead
  • several birds affected in the same shed or air space
  • swollen head
  • closed and excessively watery eyes
  • lethargy and depression
  • recumbency and unresponsiveness
  • incoordination and loss of balance
  • head and body tremoring
  • drooping of the wings and/or dragging of legs
  • twisting of the head and neck
  • swelling and blue discolouration of comb and wattles
  • haemorrhages on shanks of the legs and under the skin of the neck
  • loss of appetite of marked decrease in feed consumption
  • sudden increase or decrease in water consumption
  • respiratory distress such as gaping (mouth breathing), nasal snicking (coughing sound), sneezing, gurgling, or rattling
  • fever or noticeable increase in body temperature
  • discoloured or loose watery droppings
  • cessation or marked reduction in egg production