Scores of dead and sick birds, including puffins, are being washed up on Orkney’s beaches in recent days. Experts who are investigating the discovery of the birds have ruled out avian flu as the mysterious cause of the fatal condition ailing these birds.
Displaced by storms
Vets at a practice on Orkney island in Scotland called Flett and Carmichael are treating the surviving puffins, where they are being given rehydration fluids.
The deaths have been reported to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Vet Leah Hunter told BBC Radio Orkney:
Puffins have been found especially on Scapa beach and quite a lot of them have been washed up dead, or very cold or very weak. After we warmed one up and had given it some fluids, it seems to be responding really well.
According to her, recent storms in the area could be responsible for this. She also advised locals on the proper handling of the birds should they come across any along the beach.
If you think they are struggling and in need of help I would recommend bringing them down or giving us a call. If you are moving a puffin I would advise strict hygiene, if you've got gloves wear them
‘Unusual and distressing event’
The Scottish Government, describing the finds as ‘unusual and distressing’, said it working with different organizations to unravel the mystery of the dying and ailing birds. A government spokesperson said:
Wild birds can carry several diseases that are infectious to people, so members of the public should not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that they find along the Scottish coastline.
Earlier this year, numerous seabirds, including puffins, guillemots and razorbills, were found dead along the eastern coast of Scotland and other parts of the UK.