Cornwall wildlife experts issue warning to not touch dead birds

Credit: Friends of Portheras Cove

Wildlife experts in Cornwall are warning people to stay away from dead or dying birds after a number of Avian Flu outbreaks have been recorded in the region.

Dozens of dead birds have been found washed up along the coast of Cornwall.

More than 40 birds were also found dead in The Isles of Scilly, resulting in The Scilly Wildlife Trust's warning to people, particularly dog-walkers, to stay away from dead or dying birds to prevent contamination.

Marine Biologist Delia Webb who is part of the Friends of Portheras Cove conservation group has been regularly monitoring beaches around Pendeen.

Dozens of dead birds have also washed up along the coast of Cornwall. Credit: Friends of Portheras Cove

She told ITV News: "This morning there were five dead gannets in the cove and a couple floating just a little offshore, which is the most we've had and it was quite disturbing to see these beautiful birds deceased on the beach.

"We monitor the beaches around Pendeen on a daily basis, especially now as it's seal pupping season.

"We had a poorly gannet who was still alive on Saturday morning but the advice is not to try and recover the birds which is heartbreaking because normally we would be helping and recovering sick and injured birds.

"I think we need to think about transmission of the disease at the moment. If the dead birds remain on the beach there is a likelihood of transmission to other species like dogs and humans."

Credit: Friends of Portheras

A spokesperson from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) says the authority has collected samples following the reports of dead wild birds which have been submitted to a laboratory for testing.

They added that results will be made public in "due course".

Defra is urging people to call them if they find any of the following:

  • a single dead bird of prey (including owls)

  • three or more dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls

  • or five or more dead birds of any species

More information about what to do if you come across any dead birds can be found here.