12 July 2022

Collection of dead seabirds must be handled by council

Efforts to remove larger numbers of dead seabirds suspected of having Avian Influenza have continued apace this week, with around several hundred collected from our shorelines in recent days.

A key part of the success in clearing the carcasses has been the reporting of cases by the public and we again thank you for your ongoing efforts.

But we have had more instances of volunteers bagging dead birds and leaving them in publicly-accessible areas for us to collect.

As a council we have to follow specific procedures for the safe disposal of these birds and while the risk of infection to humans remains low, exposure to large numbers of birds increases that risk considerably.

So while we do appreciate your concern and willingness to help, it is best to leave the birds in-situ for our trained teams who are responding quickly to mass cases and monitoring affected areas.

We would ask that you continue to report suspected cases to both Defra on 03459 335577 and, if you come across groupings of 10 or more dead birds, our own dedicated phoneline on 01467 537444.

Again, please be assured that our beaches are still safe to enjoy this summer and the threat of transmission to humans is very low.

But remember to follow this safety advice at all times:

  • Do not pick up or touch dead or sick wild birds
  • Keep pets/dogs away from any dead or sick birds
  • Don't feed wild waterfowl
  • Don't touch wild bird feathers or surfaces contaminated with droppings

If you find a live but sick bird call the SSPCA on 03000 999999 for advice – however please note that due to the current situation you should not bring any wild birds to their animal rescue and rehoming centres.

If you keep poultry or other birds, it is vital that you wash your hands and clean and disinfect your footwear before tending to your birds.

For more details on avian influenza, visit