The public are being asked to report sightings of garden birds riddled with lesions as scientists reveal that avian pox is spreading across the UK. Avian pox has been recorded in bird species such as House Sparrows and Woodpigeons for a number of years, but its recent emergence in Great Tits is causing real concern as the birds develop more severe symptoms of the disease. Scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the University of Oxford recorded the first occurrence of the disease in Oxford last year. Prior to this, affected birds had most often been sighted in Surrey, Kent and Sussex. The researchers are now calling on the public to report sightings of garden birds with symptoms of avian pox to the RSPB Wildlife Enquiries Unit to help the research team track the spread of the disease.
(Warning: this article contains images that some readers may find upsetting.)
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