THERE have been reports of birds appearing ill along the shoreline of West Cork today.
A reader took this picture of a gannet at Audley Cove today.
And there have been reports of other, similar, sick birds along the coast, with suggestions that it may be caused by Avian flu.
It has been advised that if anyone comes across such birds they immediately contact the relevant authorities and keep all animals away from the ill bird.
Rory Jackson, Green Party Skibbereen-West local representative, has been protecting local birdlife in West Cork for over 30 years and says that 'this new scenario is as worrying as anything I've ever seen'.
'It is very worrying to see an increase in the number of dead birds being reported on our shores,' he said in a statement.
'We have watched avian flu spread across the UK and knew at some time, it would visit our shores and birds here.
'Avian flu can still be contagious from dead birds for over two weeks and it is important that any sightings are reported immediately. This is extremely worrying for a population already under severe pressure from pollution, overfishing, and the rise in temperatures.
'Climate change is not just about temperature and weather – it is also about what life can survive – and what we are seeing in these dead birds – is that avian flu may be thriving in this new world.
'I would reiterate the calls for the public to report any sightings of dead birds or birds behaving in ways that signify distress or disease.'
According to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine's website, 'there is a constant risk of avian influenza being introduced into Ireland from wild birds particularly from October onwards each year as this is when migratory birds arrive and congregate on wetlands, mixing with resident species.'
They say you should never handle a sick or dead wild bird, and that you should never bring one home, especially if you own or work with poultry.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Avian Influenza Helpline Number is 01 607 2512. Their after-hours number is 01 492 8026.
For more information, visit the department's website.
Dead gannet, Beara.
Please report sick/dead gannets via @agriculture_ie
Avian influenza hotline:
01 607 2512 (office hours)
01 492 8026 (outside office hours)
Or log it using the Avian Check app: …https://t.co/TGfBhnpfz9
Do not handle sick/dead birds: https://t.co/WpBhu5ubkn pic.twitter.com/lUbHFAunXt
— Glengarriff Woods NR (@GlengarriffWood) September 5, 2022