A BIRDER has spoken of his shock after seeing a number of birds from a "vibrant" colony dead after a suspected bird flu outbreak.

A number of black headed gulls were spotted by keen bird watcher Marc Hughes during a visit to the Coed-y-Dinas nature reserve earlier this week.

“My in-laws live there and every time we go, I go and look at the black headed gull colony," said Mr Hughes.

“Two weeks ago, it was vibrant. All the birds settling down to nest, a hive of activity.

“Then I went this last weekend and unfortunately there was evidence of a number of dead birds. A lot of evidence of dying and sickly looking birds and a very quiet looking colony.

"It’s happening all over Britain it’s not just Welshpool it just seems to be hitting gulls this year.”

READ MORE: Second bird flu control zone declared near Newtown, Powys

Mr Hughes said he was familiar with symptoms of the disease but he has never come across as many birds affected as this.

“I’m a keen bird watcher so avian flu is something that is on our radar,” said Mr Hughes.

“But its usually only one or two birds you come across but when you come through a colony that’s just been decimated. You’re talking tens of dead birds in a colony of a hundred birds. The likelihood is that most of those birds will perish.”  

Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust has been made aware of the incident and it has been reported to Defra. The trust is “dealing with the situation as advised”. However, they have said they are unable to confirm whether it is definitely avian flu.


It comes after a number of disease control zones were enforced near Newtown and Montgomery after confirmed outbreaks at poultry facilities in the area.

The Welsh Government have advised the public to be vigilant about signs of avian flu and both they and the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust have stressed that members of the public should not touch a dead or sick bird and to contact Defra immediately.

 A Welsh Government Spokesperson said: “It’s important keepers remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds, and report any suspicions of avian flu immediately.  Everyone has a role to play in helping to monitor avian flu in wild birds too and report any concerns they have.

“Although overall risk levels of avian influenza across the UK have recently reduced, the virus remains in some of our wild birds and remains a threat to them and to kept birds, through direct or indirect spread.

“Our Avian Influenza Prevention Zone remains in place, meaning bird keepers must continue to implement high levels of biosecurity and be vigilant for signs of disease in their birds.

“We must stress the virus has not gone away and is still circulating in wild birds and scrupulous biosecurity and hygiene measures offer the best protection for poultry and kept birds.”

Findings of avian influenza in wild birds are reported on the Defra website - Bird flu (avian influenza): cases in wild birds - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Dead wild birds can be reported via the online tool or Defra helpline ( 03459 33 55 77).