Quarter of Alderney gannet colony may have bird flu


It's feared that 25% of Northern Gannets at a colony in the Channel Islands might have avian flu.

Les Etacs, just off the coastline of Alderney, is an important breeding ground for the seabird with 5,500 pairs present in 2021.

Some 5,500 pairs of Northern Gannet bred at Les Etacs in 2021 (Tim Melling).

Alderney Wildlife Trust had previously estimated about 10% of gannet chicks in the island's colony had died. It now says 20% have died and it fears a quarter of the gannet colony has bird flu.

It comes as the island has been declared an avian flu infected area. It means poultry or other birds cannot be imported or exported.

The gannet population on the island represents nearly 1% of the global population. Alex Purdie, from the Trust, said: "The disease is intense, causes confusion and even in later stages the birds might fit."

"There are also a lot of dead birds in the colony and also a lot of gaps. Usually the colony would be dense but we're unfortunately seeing a lot of the areas less dense."

The trust said it was rare to see dead birds in the water, but this year the authorities in Alderney have had almost 100 washed up birds reported to them.