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Date posted: 23 December 2022

Avian influenza (bird flu)

The UK is currently experiencing a large avian influenza (bird flu) outbreak and some wild birds may be infected. Up to date information can be found on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) website.

Additional information can also be found in Surrey County Council’s animal health newsletter.

Whilst UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that the risk to public health from the avian flu virus is very low, it is important that you do not pick up or touch sick or dead birds.

Reporting dead wild birds

You should call the DEFRA helpline (03459 335577) or report online if you find:

  • One or more dead birds of prey or owls

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

  • Five or more dead birds of any species

Calls to the helpline about dead wild birds are triaged and not all birds will be collected.

In your own garden

If you find dead wild birds in your garden, except the species and numbers detailed above, please dispose of them safely by following the advice on the DEFRA website.

Poultry or captive birds

If you keep poultry including chickens, ducks and geese or a large number of captive birds, there is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers in the UK to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks from the threat of avian flu.

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