Public warned not to touch ‘sick or dead birds’ after spate of mystery deaths

A large number of sick and dead birds have been found by the River Great Ouse and people in the Bedford area have been told not to touch them

An investigation is under way into what may have caused the sudden spate of illnesses to the birds in and around the river, reported BedfordshireLive.

So far it remains a mystery what could be causing the sickness with Bedford Borough Council unable to confirm what maybe behind the deaths.

The council is encouraging residents to exercise caution as they work with Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to find answers.

Residents have been told not to touch birds that are unwell and to not try and feed those that are sick but instead people should get in touch with the authorities to report the incident.

Anyone who keeps poultry or other birds is advised to wash their hands and clean and disinfect footwear before tending to their animals.

Councillor Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said that they are investigating what has been happening to the birds and removing those that have died as quickly as possible.

“We are continuing to wait on Defra for the results of their tests,” he said.

“We have a daily inspection set up and carried out by our staff to identify any dead birds. We continue to respond to the reports and we will remove the birds as soon as we can. If the birds are in the water then we do need a trained person and equipment, boat to recover them so it can take up to 36 hours to remove.

“We do not want any residents removing or touching dead birds. They are to report them and allow trained staff and the appropriate precautions and safe removal to take place by the authorities.”