Avian Influenza in the UK - Updated Guidance 01/12/2021
We are in a deteriorating situation and facing a high increase in reported cases of AI across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.
Do not feed to your bird of prey, any wild sourced bird, no matter when or how obtained.
A housing order has been introduced, meaning that weathering birds of prey in the open is prohibited. All birds must be kept in roofed or covered accommodation.
In England, Northern Ireland and Scotland flying is permitted outside restricted zones, but great care must be taken if pursuing quarry (all wild birds have to be considered as potentially infected). Wales appears to have prohibited flying in their articulation of the housing measures introduced today. We are seeking clarity on this but have no response from the Welsh Government as yet.
Biosecurity measures such as disinfectant foot baths, must be used in order to prevent carrying infection on shoes and boots. Be aware that moving through an area in which infected birds have defecated, can transfer the virus. The same is true of vehicle tyres.
Travelling with birds of prey must be planned to ensure that you do not inadvertently enter a restricted zone.
Do not travel hawks or falcons from different households in the same vehicle.
It is preferable to fly alone, or with company that are non-bird keepers, or are from your own household.
Gatherings (flying together with other falconers) whilst not banned outright at present, are to be discouraged. If you wish to gather for a field meeting, please be mindful of the restrictions of the General Licence published by DEFRA.
Avoid all poultry and livestock areas, wetlands, and gamebird release sites.
Contact your landowners to check with them that they are still happy for you to go onto their land.
Dr Gordon T Mellor
The Hawk Board