Bird Flu

by David Feather

Sadly, here in North Bradley, we had a letter from Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) today informing us that Bird Flu was in the area and special precautions were needed.  Yesterday, I discovered a dead blackbird in our garden and didn’t think anything of it. Today my view was changed by the letter and I shall be looking out for others.

As the SCP Nature Reserve is just a couple of minutes flying time from North Bradley then the problem may occur there. Bird Flu is said not to seriously affect humans, but we need to be careful if we encounter it. Goodness knows how it is going to affect our nature reserve, but it will certainly not be good for our birds.

It is a notifiable disease, which means that, when suspected, it has to be reported to the Government (to add to all the other National and International problems that it has to deal with). The Defra advice, if wild birds are affected, is :-

Reporting dead wild birds

You should call the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77) if you find:
– one or more dead bird of prey or owl
– 3 or more dead gulls or wild waterfowl (swans, geese and ducks)
– 5 or more dead birds of any species

Do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find.

If you do unfortunately find a dead or sick bird in the Nature Reserve, please do not touch it. If you have the technology on your phone, pin the bird’s location; if not, use this map of the reserve to identify its location as accurately as possible.

Then call the Wiltshire Council Countryside Team on 0300 456 0100 (email: countryside@wiltshire.gov.uk) to report what you have found and where, so that they can determine whether it is a case of bird flu and arrange for the disposal of the carcass.

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