Ornithologists have warned that a new and devastating outbreak of avian flu, which has already wiped out wild bird populations across the UK, is likely to hit Britain this spring.
The disease, caused by the H5N1 strain of the virus, has now established itself across many parts of the country and wild birds arriving in Britain in the next few months will likely trigger new outbreaks.
The bird flu epidemic has had a growing impact on wild birds over the past two years, with 65 species infected and thousands of birds dying.
The virus has also infected otters and foxes, but the extent of its spread is unknown.
The spread of avian flu puts further stress on Britain’s already threatened wild birds, particularly seabirds, which are already suffering from the effects of the climate crisis, commercial development, and large-scale fishing.