BBOWT warns avian flu could kill thousands of birds locally


We’re being asked to help stop the spread of bird flu

The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) is urging us to help stop the spread of bird flu.

Whilst its not yet been officially recorded on any of the Trust’s reserves this year, a recent outbreak of avian flu has been confirmed in Oxfordshire.

The Trust is warning that thousands of wild birds could die if the disease takes hold in its three counties.

New Government rules have come into force for poultry owners this week to help prevent avian flu.  The Trust is asking nature lovers to also do their bit to protect wild bird populations.   Keeping to footpaths and keeping dogs on leads away from birds will help stop the spread.   At home, cleaning bird feeders and bird baths regularly with disinfectant is another step that can be taken.

Estelle Bailey, Chief Executive BBOWT, said: “Sadly bird flu is really hitting some of our farmers hard and we’ve also had reports of the infection spreading to wild pigeons and geese, as well as hawks and even owls. It is frightening to think what a devastating impact this could have on wild birds in our area.

“Nature is already in crisis and after the heatwave this summer, birds in urban and rural areas are really struggling. It would be a tragedy if populations of much-loved garden visitors like robins and goldfinches, or iconic species like woodpeckers or tawny owls were wiped out. I’m asking everyone to do their bit to help our wonderful wild birds survive bird flu this winter.”

Dead waterfowl or other dead wild birds should be reported to Defra’s helpline on 03459 335577.

Avian influenza poses a low risk to human health but it is highly contagious for birds. The current bird flu outbreak is the worst ever recorded in the UK – millions of farmed birds such as turkeys, chickens and ducks are at risk. Some 2.3m birds died or were culled in October alone.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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