Avian Influenza: a guide to wild birds to look out for

With the nights getting longer and the winter chill bringing with it the buzz of Christmas, it will also be carrying a serious threat to the nation’s bird-keepers. 

It is that time of year when avian influenza (AI) blows in from the continent and puts British bird- and poultry-keepers – and their businesses – at risk. 

Last month Meat Trades Journal reported that the risk was likely to come from migratory wild birds crossing the north-eastern and eastern border of the European Union. 

To prevent the spread of AI towards the close of 2016 and the beginning of this year, prevention zones were placed across the nation, with bird-keepers being advised to keep their animals indoors. 

“If bird-keepers see one of the wild birds dead or ill on their property, they should contact Defra [Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs] to report them,” advised Shraddha Kaul, public affairs and public relations manager for the British Poultry Council. 

“We strongly advise bird-keepers against handling the wild birds themselves. If a farmer suspects his/her birds are ill then they should contact their vet.

“A private vet can be authorised by APHA [Animal and Plant Health Agency] to test the birds to rule out AI. If the vet suspects AI then APHA must be notified immediately. APHA will come out and take samples from the birds.”

To find out what birds you should be looking out for, take a look below at our gallery. Information coutesey of the RSPB. 

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