In Your Nature Ep 39 - Bird Flu Update

This weeks episode focuses on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) or H5N1, more commonly referred to as bird flu. The impact of the H5N1 has been particularly pronounced in the last two years, impacting seabird colonies on a pretty much global scale.At the outset of the episode Niall explains that while bird flu is a pre-existing virus, the virulence of the H5N1 strain is due to intensive and unsanitary farming practices in many poultry farms in south-east Asia. To provide more context around this topic, Niall Hatch interviewed Dr. Steve Newton and Brian Burke, both of BirdWatch Ireland. Steve and Brian work on some of Ireland's largest tern colonies on behalf of BirdWatch Ireland and have been at the coal face of this problem.Steve details how H5N1 has impacted Lady's Island Lake and Rockabill Island, the two colonies with the largest Roseate Tern populations in Ireland, with Rockabill being the most important Roseate Tern colony in north-western Europe. This species is one of the most endangered seabirds world-wide. Brian talks about the Dublin Port tern colony, a large principally Common Tern colony in Ireland's largest port, and the impact of the virus at this site, and the measures taken here as at the other two colonies to mitigate the spread of this disease.Brian also goes on to talk about the Kilcoole Little Tern colony, Ireland's largest colony of this seabird, which despite a slightly rocky beginning with two positive cases of avian flu, has escaped the virus this season, and went on to have a successful breeding season. Steve and Brian discuss the implications of H5N1 for the wider avian community particularly as we come into the winter season, and the need for greater government and departmental support. This weeks Bird of the Week is the Gannet, Ireland's largest breeding seabird with a wingspan of over 6 feet. It was unfortunately heavily impacted by avian flu in 2022. When diving for prey, Gannets will dive at a speed of ~60km/hour and are specially adapted for this behaviour. This species, pre avian flu, were increasing in population and are, despite the set-back from avian flu, a good news story in the world of conservation. In Your Nature features Ricky Whelan, Biodiversity Officer with Offaly County Council and Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland and is edited by Ann-Marie Kelly. The series is supported by Laois, Offaly, and Westmeath County Councils and the Heritage Council. 

Om Podcasten

The In Your Nature Podcast brings you conversations about birds & wildlife, wild places, the work of BirdWatch Ireland and wildlife conservationists. The podcast features Ricky Whelan, biodiversity officer with Offaly County Council in conversation with  Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland  with regular expert guests. BirdWatch Ireland is Ireland's largest independent conservation organisation. Episodes are released in seasons (three per year) with six episodes in each, dropping weekly (Monday mornings) in spring, summer, and autumn. Topics discussed vary, with birds and wider biodiversity at the heart of it all, each episode finishes with the "Bird of the Week" feature in homage to this wonderful group of animals. To give feedback, suggest topics or ask a question you can email us at . The series  is supported by Laois, Offaly and Westmeath County Councils and the Heritage Council and is edited by Ann-Marie Kelly.