Stockport Council advise caution when feeding wild birds

Stockport Council is advising the public not to approach any sick or dead birds, and not to feed wild birds directly from your hands, due to cases of avian flu.

Avian influenza (bird flu) has been detected in a number of wild birds across the UK, including two geese in Etherow Park in Stockport. DEFRA has confirmed that this is normal for the time of year, as wild birds carry the disease to the UK when migrating from Europe and Asia.

The UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low. Additionally, the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu poses a very low safety risk to UK consumers, and that properly cooked eggs and poultry remain safe to eat.

To be on the safe side, the council has advised residents not to feed wild birds directly from your hands whilst the warnings remain in place. It also advises the public not to pick up or handle sick or dead birds of any kind they might find whilst feeding ducks and geese at any of Stockport’s ponds, but instead to call the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

Councillor Jude Wells, Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health at Stockport Council, commented: “It is important for the public not to be alarmed by this advice, as bird flu is common at this time of year. However, by following the advice given regarding handling wild birds such as ducks, geese, gulls or birds of prey this winter, residents can be sure to keep themselves safe and avoid catching the illness. I’d like to reiterate that there is a very low safety risk to those who consume eggs or poultry, so there is no need to change any behaviours other than to avoid touching birds, particularly those that are sick or dead.”

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