An unprecedented outbreak with devastating effects.
Right now, the UK is experiencing an unprecedented outbreak of Avian Flu which has already killed thousands of wild birds.
The Solway Firth, on the border between England and Scotland, is currently one of the worst affected areas, with over 4000 barnacle geese dying so far this winter. Estimates suggest that this could be around 20% of the population that migrates there annually from their breeding ground in Svalbard in arctic Norway.
Geese have been observed falling from the sky in distress, and lines of dead birds are washing up on the beach after they perish while roosting out on the mudflats.
Dead birds are being found by RSPB staff on our nature reserves across the UK, with hundreds removed so far. The RSPB is taking urgent action to assess the situation and take the best possible path to protect our wild birds.
Help us to contain the outbreak
The birds affected have mostly been ducks, geese and swans, but gulls, birds of prey and curlews have also been affected. Concerns are building that it could spread to other local populations such as lapwing and wigeon.
Worryingly, the worst could still be to come.
The ‘classic’ Avian Flu pattern is for the outbreak to peak in early winter, followed by a second peak later in the season that can be more deadly. We must all act now to do what we can to limit the spread of this disease across wild bird populations. Whilst the Solway Firth is currently experiencing the brunt of the outbreak, impacts are being seen across the UK.
If you can, please donate to help us to respond to this unprecedented outbreak
£10 will help us remove carcasses to help stop the virus spreading; £30 will fund PPE for a staff member or volunteer; £120 will help the RSPB get support to clear areas of high virus spread.
Please see our dedicated page for information on what do to if you find a sick or dead wild bird.