Alderney residents asked to report dead birds as bird flu testing resumes

It is thought around 25% of the adult population died following the outbreak last year. Credit: ITV Channel

Birds in Alderney are being tested for avian flu again.

Islanders are also being asked to report any dead seabirds they find.

States vets are being cautious following the deaths of thousands of gannets in the island's two colonies last summer.

It is thought around 25% of the adult population died following the outbreak last year, but officials hope the colonies will rebuild this summer.

The Alderney Wildlife Trust has installed cameras to monitor breeding birds including puffins, storm petrels and gulls on Burhou and gannets at Les Etacs.

The risk of bird flu is low but islanders are asked to avoid close contact with dead or sick birds and keep any dogs away from potentially infected birds too.

Anyone who finds a dead or sick seabird is asked to report the incident to the States of Alderney by calling Public Works on 01481 820080.

Bird Flu: Your Questions Answered

What is bird flu?

Avian flu is highly infectious and mainly affects birds, although in very rare cases it can transfer to humans and other animals.

The virus is spread through bodily fluids such as saliva and droppings.

It is often passed on by wild birds that migrate from Europe during winter and can be very dangerous for poultry and domestic birds.

How is it spread?

Birds can be infected with the avian influenza virus through contact with infected saliva, nasal secretions or faeces.

Wild birds including waterfowl are often more resistant to avian influenza than domestic birds and can carry and transmit the virus without showing evidence of disease.

Everyone, at all times but especially now, should take care to maintain good hygiene when feeding garden birds – regularly cleaning feeders outside with mild disinfectant, removing old bird-food, spacing-out feeders as much as possible and washing your hands.  

Back to top

What risk is there to humans?

There is a very low risk of humans catching bird flu.

It usually requires close and regular contact with an infected bird.

A man from South West England was infected in January 2022 but public health officials stressed the risk to the wider public remains very low.

More on the disease:

Bird flu, or avian flu, is an infectious type of influenza that spreads among birds. In rare cases, it can affect humans.

There are lots of different strains of bird flu virus.

Most of them don't infect humans, but there are 4 strains that have caused concern in recent years:

  • H5N1 (since 1997)

  • H7N9 (since 2013)

  • H5N6 (since 2014)

  • H5N8 (since 2016)

It is strain H5N1 that is currently spreading in the UK

Back to top

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.