While Avian Influenza is certainly ravaging seabird colonies in the North 
Atlantic, I think the shearwater die off is not caused by this, at least I have 
not heard of any of these birds testing positive for HPAI. I prepared an good 
number of Great Shearwaters from the 2017 die off and they were all emaciated 
first year birds on their first trip north form the South Atlantic breeding 
islands. This is a fairly regular phenomenon, a good review can be found here:

Again, if people find any pelagic birds in decent condition could you please 
bag and freeze and I'll make arrangements to collect them.

Good birding, Paul

-----Original Message-----
<> On Behalf Of Tom Fiore
Sent: Monday, June 20, 2022 5:56 AM
Subject: [nysbirds-l] avian influenza in Scotland, the U.S.A. (NYS), and 
beyond, into June '22


Regarding **possible causes** of mortalities of dead (or dying) seabirds, 
particularly shearwaters of at least several species seen just lately on the 
Atlantic shores of (at least) New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and 
possibly northward, which at-least anecdotally are now likely into the 
many-hundreds for these states, in just recent weeks (if not recent days alone) 

There is what has been termed (by the Government of Great Britain, and the by 
Government of Scotland) *HPAI* (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) affecting in 
particular there, the northern coastal area of Scotland, and also other areas 
of the U.K.  **This note is to do with wild birds.**   Some estimates are that 
the world's largest breeding-population (or 'colony'; estimates of total recent 
numbers run to 150,000 of this one species at the site) of Northern Gannet 
(Morus bassanus) - located in the Firth of Forth Scotland (U.K.) have been 
very-much affected by the H5N1 avian flu, with reports noting "hundreds" 
(possibly now into the thousands for all of U.K.) of N. Gannets dead or dying 
there by early June, and sadly this has been ongoing there.  Various other 
breeding seabirds at U.K. colonies are being seen as affected by this and these 
have included birds such as some loons ("divers" in the U.K.) and skua, as well 
as other groups of strong-flying species.  That same avian flu has been 
affecting birds in Europe and beyond.  [N.B., the Bass Rock (Scotland) gannetry 
has inspired a much-read monograph on that species published in the U.K.]

This "H.P.A.I." is usually or regularly also referred to as H5N1 avian flu and 
has been documented in at least 35 states in the U.S.A. as of June '22.  
Potentially affected species are many, but already confirmed are varied species 
(i.e. - some, not all species in any given order or family!) in the [migratory 
and potentially-migratory] groups such as the Anseriformes (swans, geese, 
ducks, & etc.), the Suliformes (which includes all Sulidae, which 'sulids' 
takes in Gannet species such as Northern Gannet and also booby species, as well 
as cormorants, shags, & etc.), and the Procellariformes (albatrosses, many 
types of petrels, and etc.), and a variety of additional *orders* of birds of 
which some species-groups are very capable of trans-oceanic, long-distance 
flight.  H5N1 avian flu has also been detected in birds in eastern Canada as 
well as elsewhere in this year.

More is being learnt daily on this subject. Many references are available 
on-line, with one I have noted being this (United States Geological Survey, 
National Wildlife Health Center - a division in the U.S. federal government):;data=05%7C01%7C%7C84249e7906ab4d59945d08da52b370d8%7Cbe0003e8c6b9496883aeb34586974b76%7C0%7C0%7C637913227924029994%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&amp;sdata=9HC5c4XY%2Bs2KsM3iqqoEKQBQN%2Fk8uR6DTxhgRB8VCgw%3D&amp;reserved=0
 (this link updated to at least June 14, '22).  Relative to the state of New 
York, a chart in the above web page[s] indicates that H5N1 avian flu has been 
detected in (*some*) wild birds and in (*some*) wild mammals in this state. The 
chart also indicates detections (of this form of avian flu) in many other U.S. 
states, and in multiple provinces in Canada, to this year.  I also am aware of 
information from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control 
(U.S.A.), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (U.K., popularly the 
RSPB), and multiple other sources in the U.S.A. and also abroad.

There is more-than-anecdotal evidence that in at least Scotland and its' isles, 
and some parts of n.-w. Europe such as Svarlbard (Norway), increasingly high 
numbers of seabirds and waterbirds of multiple species may have succumbed to 
this flu.  All who might encounter any dead, dying, or affected birds (with 
this flu) might read-up on this, and try to be cautious in handling such birds 
if encountered - with the *possibility* for [unintended] spread to other birds, 
at the least.  (Potential spread from wild birds to humans with H5N1 appears to 
thus far be limited, perhaps extremely-limited, however that status could 
potentially be seen differently as studies are ongoing and the science evolves.)

Articles related to this and similar news have been circulating in the 
bird-forums in recent days and weeks, some from such newspapers as the N.Y. 
Times, Washington Post, and most of the larger newspapers of the U.K. and esp. 
of Scotland, as well as in other publications globally.

This 'brief' from the Journal 'Nature' may shed some additional light on the 
above subject:;data=05%7C01%7C%7C84249e7906ab4d59945d08da52b370d8%7Cbe0003e8c6b9496883aeb34586974b76%7C0%7C0%7C637913227924029994%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&amp;sdata=VrG9Ql0cx34yvVA4EOCVNaZht5eA8bbTv6cBKQUR54o%3D&amp;reserved=0
 (link should be available to all.)  There also is an article from the Journal 
'Science' however that would seem to require paid-access or 

I have no direct ties with any of above institutions or non-profits.


Tom Fiore
[New York]


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