BEACH-GOERS are continuing to find dead birds on the shore amid growing concerns about avian flu.

Dead gannets and other seabirds have been spotted in growing numbers on beaches in the North East coast in recent days and weeks. 

Bird flu has been confirmed in parts of Scotland and the RSPB warned last week about presumed cases of the disease elsewhere in the UK.

Read more: Bird flu: Northumberland beaches see dead animals as RSPB issue advice

Concerned people have been posting pictures of the animals on social media, with one at Littlehaven, in South Tyneside on Friday and one at South Gare, in Redcar on Sunday.

On Sunday, six dead gannets were reported between Seahouses and Beadnell in Northumberland.

Several dead sea birds were also pictured at Warkworth beach over the weekend.

Dead birds have also been reported in North Yorkshire, including Bridlington. 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is investigating the cause as part of its wild bird surveillance programme.

The Northern Echo: A dead gannet at Druridge Bay Picture: Alan ThompsonA dead gannet at Druridge Bay Picture: Alan Thompson

Government monitoring has found 18 cases of bird flu along the North East and North Yorkshire coastline this year as of 10 June

Defra has said they are aware of a number of wild bird deaths reported from several locations in England and that these deaths are currently under investigation as part of the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s (APHA) on-going wild bird surveillance programme.

Defra says the APHA will collect a small number of dead birds as part its surveillance programme.

Where dead birds are not required for surveillance purposes it is the landowner’s responsibility to safely dispose of the carcases as animal by-products, the Government says. Where dead birds are on public land, it is the local authority’s responsibility to safely dispose of the carcases as animal by-products. 

People are advised not to touch dead or dying birds but to report it to Defra.

Last week, the RSPB issued a statement urging the Government to come up with a response plan.  


Katie-Jo Luxton, the RSPB’s director of conservation said: “Our seabird populations have halved since the 1980s. Now, a highly mutable and deadly new form of avian influenza, which originated in poultry, is killing our wild seabirds in large numbers. We urge UK governments to develop a response plan urgently – to coordinate surveillance and testing, disturbance minimisation, carcass disposal and biosecurity.

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“In the longer term, we urge much higher importance be given to prioritising and funding seabird conservation, so we help make our seabird populations more resilient to these diseases alongside other pressures.”

The Northern Echo: Two gannets at Druridge Bay Picture: Jason HusseinTwo gannets at Druridge Bay Picture: Jason Hussein

Dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, should be reported to the Defra helpline  by calling 03459 335577.

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