Avian Flu Alert

Avian Flu Alert

Sudbury Common Lands Charity’s response to the discovery of dead wild birds on the water meadows

Following the death of multiple wild birds on the Common Lands this week, the Sudbury Common Lands Charity is urging members of the public to take precautions if they visit the water meadows.

It has been a challenging week for our rangers who have been working hard to identify and help remove the carcasses and respond to numerous calls reporting the dead animals.

The dead birds that have been removed from across the nature reserve – predominately in the Brundon area – are mostly mute swans, although a heron and two black-headed gulls have also died.

DEFRA has been notified and our rangers are sending ongoing updates. DEFRA is yet to respond, and it is only they who can confirm the cause of death of the birds through testing. However, our rangers are proceeding on the assumption that it is likely we are dealing with an outbreak of avian influenza.

On Wednesday afternoon, September 28th, members of Babergh District Council’s Environmental Protection team came to Sudbury to remove all the carcasses that could be accessed without posing a risk to the people conducting the work e.g., some carcasses are in too deep water.

Our rangers assisted in this task and are now in ongoing contact with Babergh District Council’s operatives and will be collaborating with them should more dead birds be found.

In the meantime, we are asking the public to help us during this time and follow DEFRA guidelines for avian influenza. The advice to visitors is:

Keep to the footpaths.
Keep dogs on leads.
Do not pick up or touch dead or sick wild birds. Do not touch wild bird feathers or surfaces contaminated with wild bird droppings.
If you keep poultry or other birds, wash your hands and clean and disinfect your footwear before tending to your birds.

To avoid our rangers being overwhelmed with calls, members of the public who find a dead bird are asked to e-mail Sudbury Town Council at info@sudburytowncouncil.com where the reports will be collated and sent to our rangers and Babergh District Council’s Environmental Protection team.

We are also encouraging members of the public to keep reporting their sightings to DEFRA on the hotline, which is 03459 335577.

Sudbury Commons Lands Charity Ranger Nick Shimwell said:
“We are taking it a day at a time at the moment. This is a new and unprecedented situation, but we have established connections with the relevant persons at Babergh District Council, so we should be able to continue to have the carcasses of dead wild birds removed from site as quickly as possible.”
We would like to thank local councillors Steve Hall and John Nunn, as well as Babergh District Council and Sudbury Town Council staff for their assistance at this time.