61 wild bird species Since an outbreak of has been confirmed in Highly October 2021 Pathogenic Avian Influenza
killed Scotland During the 2022 breeding season in some colonies in the Northern Isles of 85% of Great Skuas were
The autumn migratory period is usually a time for excitement, but we now await the arrival of hundreds of thousands of wintering birds with much trepidation.
During the 2022 breeding season, the disease spread into our seabird populations for the first time. The virus emerged in the Northern Isles of Scotland, where in some colonies it is estimated to have killed at least 85% of Great Skuas and 25% of Gannets.

This loss is globally significant; more than half the world populations of these species occur in Britain and Ireland, as do one-quarter of Europe’s breeding seabirds.

The virus continued to spread through Scotland and to other UK countries, where it has infected an increasing range of seabirds resulting in thousands of breeding birds and their young dying all around our coasts.

You can help our devastated bird populations recover

We urgently need additional resources to support the UK’s response to HPAI. With your help, we can make assessing how many of our breeding seabirds return to their colonies in 2023 a high priority; this will help us to predict how long recovery periods are likely to be and to prioritise data collection to track subsequent changes in population size.

While the BTO/JNCC Ringing Scheme and the BTO/JNCC Seabird Monitoring Programme already provide a framework to achieve this, it is more important than ever to ensure that any knowledge gaps are rapidly filled.