Wild birds can be affected by many different types of parasite or disease. In many cases these have relatively little impact on the individual, but in some cases they can cause illness or even death. Much of BTO's work in this area assesses the prevalence of disease in birds using gardens. Birds coming to feeders often congregate more closely than they would in the wild, so the risk of disease transmission can be increased. BTO works to understand how to minimise these risks, and to provide advice on the safest way to feed birds.
Avian influenza spreads into more threatened seabird species
Thousands of seabirds suspected to have died from avian influenza are once again washing up on UK beaches.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza in Great Britain: evaluation and future actions
The group was commissioned by the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Professor Gideon Henderson in consultation with the Chief...
Avian influenza mortality rises in threatened gull and tern colonies
Black-headed Gulls continue to suffer as the disease spreads to Common Terns.
Avian flu: what next?
The HPAI workshop report includes discussions about the impacts of the disease, planning for future outbreaks, and conservation and research priorities.
A different approach could provide warning of avian influenza outbreaks
Although we lack complete understanding of the disease links between wild and captive bird populations, the pattern of HPAI emergence in captive poultry reflects the movements of migratory waterfowl...
Tracking avian flu through waterbird counting
Highly pathogenic avian influenza is circulating widely in UK waterbirds. The latest advice and links to relevant government information can be found at www.bto.org/avian-flu. ...
The incursion of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) into North Atlantic seabird populations: an interim report from the 15th International Seabird Group conference
Long-term trends of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) show widespread contamination of a bird-eating predator, the Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) in Britain
Scientists from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, BTO and Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland examined the carcasses of 259 Sparrowhawks which died between 1995 and 2015. Using preserved...
How BTO data are driving positive change for UK birds
Professor Juliet Vickery addresses the challenge of tackling conservation issues and how BTO data make a difference.
Goose and Swan Monitoring Programme
This project tracks the abundance and breeding success of the UK’s native geese and migratory swans through winter surveys.
Wild birds carry avian influenza from Europe to North America
Avian influenza detected in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada raises concerns about the potential for a new outbreak, and questions about the likely origins of the virus.
Tackling the challenge of avian influenza
Our Director of Science James Pearce-Higgins discusses highly pathogenic avian influenza and BTO's role in the response to the current outbreak.
Charting the impact of a Usutu virus outbreak in UK Blackbirds
The identification of the Usutu virus in Greater London in the summer of 2020 raises questions about the extent of the incursion and its impacts on wild bird populations.
Effect of a joint policy statement by nine UK shooting and rural organisations on the use of lead shotgun ammunition for hunting common pheasants Phasianus colchicus in Britain
BTO and COVID-19
BTO statement on participating in surveys during the Coronavirus pandemic (UPDATED 17.01.2022).
Disease in birds
Disease can have serious implications for our wild bird populations, as Wildife Vets from the Zoological Society of London explain.
Quantifying the spatial risk of avian influenza introduction into British poultry by wild birds
Migratory passerine birds in Britain carry Phytophthora ramorum inoculum on their feathers and "feet" at low frequency
Avian malaria linked to decline in London's House Sparrows
The once ubiquitous House Sparrow is now absent from many urban areas. New research suggests that malarial parasites may be involved in this decline.
Garden BirdWatchers allow us to better understand disease in British finches
Weekly reports from BTO Garden BirdWatchers, as well as ad hoc sightings of disease from members of the public to Garden Wildlife Health, have aided our understanding of leg lesions (more commonly...
Dodging the blades: gulls and wind farms
Initial findings suggest that Lesser Black-backed Gulls in north-west England fly within wind farms, but may avoid wind turbines once there.
Learn about the birds in your garden with Garden BirdWatch
Help with research into garden wildlife by joining our Garden BirdWatch network for free.