Since March, the German environmental organization Union for Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity (NABU), detected that the blue tit, a species of passerine bird of the Paridae family, inexplicably fell ill and then perished. Faced with this situation, the association decided to keep a record of the cases
More than 11,000 cases of dead and / or sick birds have been reported in the last fortnight by NABU, most of these cases are reported from western Germany.
The blue tit is found throughout Europe and is one of the most common visitors to UK gardens. They eat insects, caterpillars, seeds and nuts and can be seen all year round in the UK, with the exception of a few Scottish islands.
Initial laboratory tests indicated an infection with the bacterium 'Suttonella Ornithocola' which causes pneumonia in birds. Blue tit is sporadically affected by this bacterium, and although other test results are expected in the coming days, the researchers recommend "social distance" with these birds.
According to NABU, the symptoms of sick birds include respiratory problems, they no longer take food and do not try to escape when people approach them. The group is advising people to stop feeding or provide birdbaths to reduce the risk of transmission between them.
Dr Becki Lawson, a disease specialist at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), said she had not yet seen any recent increase in mortality from blue tit or any other species of garden bird in the UK.
"We are aware of the recent reports of bird mortality in Germany and understand that investigations are underway to determine the cause," Lawson said. "Once a diagnosis is made, we will be able to comment on whether the condition affecting blue tit populations in Germany is one that we also see in Britain."
A spokesperson for the RSPB said that the risk to UK bird populations was currently extremely low. “This disease predominantly affects blue breasts, which are largely sedentary birds and do not move far from where they live. If this disease is not yet present in the UK, transmission across countries from Germany to the UK will be slow, ”they said.
Members of the public have been urged to report sick or dead blue tits through Garden Wildlife Health, a monitoring project carried out between the ZSL, the British Trust for Ornithology, Froglife and the RSPB.
Source: es.sott.net milenio.com theguardian.com