If visiting East Lothian beaches and coastline please follow guidelines to minimise spread of avian flu.

Avian flu continues to be a concern around Scotland and we are therefore advising people to take some precautions when out and about:

  • do not pick up or touch dead or sick wild birds
  • keep pets/dogs away from any dead or sick birds
  • do not feed wild waterfowl
  • do not touch wild bird feathers or surfaces contaminated with wild bird droppings
  • if you keep poultry or other birds, wash your hands and clean and disinfect your footwear before tending to your birds

If you find a live but ailing bird, call SSPCA 03000 999 999.

If you find:

  • 1 or more dead bird of prey, gull, swan, goose or duck in the same place
  • 5 or more dead wild birds of any other species in the same place

you should report them online: report dead wild birds on Gov.uk

Find out more about how to spot and report the disease at Gov.scot/avianinfluenza

East Lothian Council Countryside Rangers are regularly patrolling coastal sites and beaches and will remove dead birds from the most popular coastline areas. They will not collect from private gardens.

Contact us if you wish to report a sighting of a dead bird


  • What is Avian Flu?

Avian Influenza is a highly contagious flu virus that can potentially affect any bird and has been identified in many countries across the world.

  • What birds are affected by this virus?

Any species of bird can be affected by avian influenza. In the current outbreak in East Lothian the most affected species appear to be seabirds and particularly gannets and gulls.

  • What should I do if I come across a dead bird on an East Lothian beach?

First of all please do not touch the bird. If you walking with a dog please keep it on a lead and away from any birds as any contact can increase the possibility of spreading the disease. The Countryside Rangers are regularly inspecting and patrolling the most popular beaches and coastal areas and all dead birds are being collected and taken away in an appropriate and safe manner.

  • What if I discover a bird that is alive but clearly distressed?

Again please do not touch the bird or attempt to move it. If you can please report this to Scottish SPCA helpline on 03000 999 999 It helps to narrow the location of any bird by using the app What3Words.

  • Can I still take part in watersports and swimming in the sea?

Yes, the risks to human health are extremely low but please continue to observe good hygiene practice and wash your equipment – surfboards etc and use the external showers at Yellowcraig and Gullane to wash your wetsuits and footwear before leaving the beach sites and again do not touch any dead birds

  • I enjoy feeding swans and other birds on inland rivers can I continue to do this?

Please don’t feed birds. At this time of year they will be ok without any additional feeding and encouraging birds to congregate for feeding can heighten the risk of spreading infection.

  • Do I need to remove bird feeders from my garden? 

There is no indication that common garden birds are currently affected but continue to practise good hygiene methods and regularly clean and disinfect bird feeders and wash your hands after re-filling

  • What about my chickens? 

If you have any domestic poultry and you suspect avian flu this must be reported. Full advice is available on Scottish Government website

Published: Monday, 20th June 2022