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As reported on the news, Avian flu has been confirmed in England in a number of both commercial premises and wild birds. It is very upsetting to witness the local avian flu outbreak affecting swans in Worcester and around Diglis.

Please note this situation can change rapidly, and this blog post was published 10.12.20

The risk level of avian influenza incursion in wild birds in Great Britain has been raised from ‘medium to ‘high’ following two unrelated confirmed cases in England this week and increasing reports of the disease affecting flocks in mainland Europe.

Current advice from DEFRA is that people must not touch the birds. This includes both the birds that are suffering and the bodies of those who have sadly died.

Lead partner in our project, Canal & River Trust, are responsible for boat navigation and passage through the locks on the River Severn. They received reports of dead swans around the lock island at Diglis over the weekend of the 5th/6th December. The local team were able to retrieve these swans and reported them to DEFRA. DEFRA came to collect the birds late Sunday afternoon and we are currently awaiting test results. DEFRA have now warned that people must not touch dead or dying birds, and any sightings of dead birds should be reported to DEFRA’s helpline – see below. DEFRA will make the appropriate arrangements to collect the birds.

The local Canal & River Trust team are aware that a number of dead swans have collected around the oil basin and lock at Diglis and a response is awaited from DEFRA regarding their collection.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should not touch them, but report them to the DEFRA helpline (03459 33 55 77 – please select option 7).

You can also find more information and advice from DEFRA here:




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