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Avian Flu

Since the start of the year Avian Influenza (bird flu) is having a devastating impact on wild bird populations across the UK.  As Thames Water manage a number of nature reserves and reservoirs we have a number of species, such as Canada geese and swans, that are susceptible to contracting Avian Influenza. 

Sadly, test results this week confirmed that we now have positive cases of Avian Flu at Walthamstow Wetlands. These positive results have been recorded in Canada geese, coot and cormorant (and Avian Flu symptoms have largely been seen in Canada geese on the reserve this month).

 The risk of Avian Flu to human health is very low, but there are a number of ways you can help reduce the spread of disease. Please follow these simple steps when visiting:

  • Use disinfection stations if required
  • Keep to the footpath when visiting our reserves
  • Do not feed wild waterfowl
  • Do not pick up or touch dead or sick wild birds
  • Do not touch wild bird feathers or surfaces contaminated with wild bird droppings
  • If you keep poultry or other birds, please wash your hands and clean and disinfect your footwear before tending to your birds and visiting our reserves

What to do if you find a dead bird our nature reserves

Please report any dead birds to us that you find on our nature reserves/reservoirs to and the Nature Reserve warden on site.

  • Do not touch them.
  • If you can, take a photograph and a What3Words location.


To report dead wild birds found elsewhere, you should call the DEFRA helpline (03459 33 55 77) if you find:

  • one or more dead bird of prey or owl
  • 3 or more dead gulls or wild waterfowl (swans, geese and ducks)
  • 5 or more dead birds of any species


In all cases, do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find.

You can also visit for more information.