Avian Flu Cases Confirmed in Chichester Harbour

Brent Geese & Swans

We’ve received confirmation from Defra, the UK Health Security Agency, that two cases of Avian Flu have been detected in Chichester Harbour. Defra are continuing to monitor the outbreak across the country, with the Conservancy team closely observing the situation locally.

The confirmation comes following a number of dead Mute Swans being found in the Harbour. Two birds were collected for analysis on Friday 4th November by Defra. Reports of dead swans in the Fishbourne, Thorney and Bosham Channels had been received and were recovered by the Conservancy’s team.

In Chichester Harbour the disposal of any dead birds is the responsibility of Environmental Health, Chichester District Council and the landowner. However the Conservancy has pro-actively stepped in to help manage the situation and co-ordinate all activity. Members of staff from across the organisation have been fully trained to safely recover sick or dead birds, using appropriate masks and other PPE.

The UK is facing its largest ever outbreak of Avian Influenza with over 200 cases confirmed across the country since late October 2021. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), or bird flu, infects both the wild bird and farmed or captive bird populations and is extremely contagious. 

This is a very distressing situation and sadly the spread of bird flu across the UK means that some wild birds resident in, or migrating to the Chichester Harbour area will be affected. We’re working in partnership with the relevant local authorities to organise the safe removal and disposal of dead birds found on the shoreline of Chichester Harbour, and encourage the public to report any sightings.

Harbour visitors are being advised not to pick up or touch sick or dead birds, keep dogs on a lead and refrain from feeding ducks, geese or swans around the Harbour. Any reports of dead or sick birds should be made to birdreport@conservancy.co.uk noting the specific location, likely species and time and date of the sighting.