A warning has been issued to members of the public not to touch dead or sick birds at a north-east beauty spot.
The warning comes amid fears that there has been an outbreak of Avian flu after birdwatchers reported sighting sick wading birds near to Ythan Estuary,
The fear of bird flu has been noted mainly in the Knot species.
The suspicion has not yet been confirmed, however, along the coast in Fraserburgh, three whooper swans are said to have died from Avian flu.
Wildlife and animal rescue centre New Arc near Ellon is now warning people who come across dead or sick birds to avoid touching them and to report the incident to themselves or the Scottish Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
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In a statement, New Arc said: “We are aware of an outbreak in Orkney in domestic hens, which have all sadly now either died, or been culled.
“However, over the past few days, we have received several calls regarding wading birds in our area (Newburgh/Ythan) particularly Red Knot.
“One very poorly Knot was brought to us, and immediately quarantined due to our concerns of Avian Influenza, and the unusual symptoms being presented.
“The bird died soon after and was bagged and stored safely.
“We have since received several calls regarding these lovely little birds – normally they race around, feeding frantically, but are displaying listless symptoms, not moving around, not eating and sometimes away from the flock (not normal).”
They continued: “If you find an ill bird, particularly swans, geese, gulls and now it would appear wader birds – please get in touch with Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) or Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) or do give us a call with full details and we will try to report.
“It is very frustrating that this is only being taken so seriously in domestic/farm poultry and little interest as yet is being shown in wild birds, but if they have it – it will likely spread fast as they are an indicator that ‘bird flu’ is in the area.
“Any wild bird found looking poorly, that is not obviously injured by an ‘accident’ or cat/dog attack, please feel free to call for advice.”
New Arc warns that any birds being brought to the centre must be called through in advance.
To report a sick or dead bird, New Arc can be contacted at 07962 253 867 or the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999.