Wild birds

What do you do if you find a dead wild bird?

This is not uncommon when out for a walk and we are often asked what to do (people do realise there’s little we can do for the bird!)

There is, however, a lot of important environmental information that may be gained from dead birds

  • If the bird has any wing tags or rings, note their colour position and number and report at www.ring.ac
  • Garden birds (eg finches, blackbirds, etc) – call the Garden Bird Health Initiative on 020 7449 6685 so they may arrange a post-mortem examination – do not simply post the body without calling first!
  • If there are large groups of birds together- especially gulls, waterfowl or waders- call the Defra Helpline on 08459 335577 and select the Avian Influenza option. This is particularly important in winter which is when we tend to see avian influenza outbreaks. This helpline will also be able to coordinate toxin investigations if necessary
  • Bird of prey- if by a road or if flown into a window visit https://wiki.ceh.ac.uk/display/pbms/Home as these birds may be useful to the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme who are researching environmental pollutant levels. If away from a road or window then call the RSPB on 01767 693690 who will assist in investigating potential wildlife crime

Otherwise, please leave where it is – bugs and other scavengers will be waiting to do their work, and dead bodies are an important part of the natural food cycles.