13/07/2023
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Bird flu confirmed on Brownsea Island

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Bird flu has been confirmed on Brownsea Island in Dorset, with some 600 birds found dead in recent weeks.

The site, situated in Poole Harbour, has been closed since 16 June as tests were carried out to determine whether the virus had reached the island's famous gull and tern colonies. The results from the DEFRA confirmed it was bird flu.


Hundreds of gulls and terns, including Sandwich Terns, have perished on Brownsea Island (Clinton Whale).

Dorset Wildlife Trust said it would "potentially have a serious impact on future populations" as most of the birds found dead were chicks. Its staff were working to "monitor and manage this very difficult and distressing situation and to reduce any risk of spreading the disease".

The charity said the outbreak happened at the height of the breeding season at the reserve, severely impacting the nesting Common and Sandwich Terns and Black-headed Gulls.

The nature reserve's lagoon, surrounding reedbeds and woodlands will remain closed for the foreseeable future. Visitors can still go to the part of the island run by the National Trust.