6 Apr 2006

The Swallows and Avian Flu have arrived.

114. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

Well yesterday I saw my first Swallow of the year in the field in front of the house and sadly it was announced that a swan has been found with Avian Flu in Fife, Scotland. They are at present testing samples at the EU's bird flu laboratory in Surrey to see if it is the UK's first case in a wild bird of the H5N1 strain, blamed for human deaths.

A 1.8-mile (3km) protection zone to prevent poultry being moved is in place around Cellardyke in Fife, where the bird was found eight days ago and the government's national emergency committee is to discuss the issues.

My main worry is that the media is highly efficient at creating hysteria and changing peoples perceptions of wild birds. So you could get the situation where Wild Birds=Avian Flu=Potential Death=Lets Kill WildBirds. In my view it wouldnt take long before the less educated take this view. We I'm sure will get reports of youths killing all the swans on a pond because they thought they were a danger to the public. Let us just hope that the H5N1 virus is not transferred to the human population in the UK.H5N1 Info as this will I also fear have a detrimental effect on the ability those organisations such as the RSPB,WWT,BTO to raise money for conservation.

I am presently trying to increase my knowledge of birdsong and Im sure it drives my wife up the wall when we go on a walk and every few minutes I say I think thats a xxxxxx and check with my bins. By which time she is thirty yards ahead of me! Birding is definately not a family friendly activity. As I am writing this I can hear a coal tit singing teacher,teacher,teacher,teacher very quickly.

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