Presently, scientists are doing tests on the dead birds, ten per cent of the flock’s total, amid fears the virus may spread.
According to new news reports, seven swans from the Queen’s flock at Windsor were feared to have been killed by bird flu.
Presently, scientists are doing tests on the dead birds, ten per cent of the flock’s total, amid fears the virus may spread.''
The H5N6 avian influenza is thought to be behind the deaths and scientists at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs fear it may spread and officials are understood to be looking at a group of at least 13 birds.
Speaking to The Sun, a source said that bird flu is feared to have struck the Windsor swan flock. While they are waiting for the tests to come back but everyone suspects the worst.
Royal biographer Penny Junor said: “The Queen will be profoundly upset about this,” adding, “She is an animal lover and if they have bird flu it’s horrible.”
The Queen’s official Swan Marker David Barber, responsible for the 800-year-old tradition of carrying out an annual census of Thames swans, said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss.”
By tradition the Crown owns all mute swans found on open water in the UK. The mute swan is the most common of three UK species.
In 2016 the annual “swan upping” — the official census of the birds — found 72 at Windsor.
The H5N6 strain killed four wildfowl at Amwell Nature Reserve near Ware, Herts — forcing it to close two weeks ago. Defra introduced an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone on January 18.
It means all bird keepers are legally required to follow strict biosecurity measures.
There was also a bird flu outbreak in Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset last year. Nine swans tested positive for the H5N8 strain.
The Queen is known to take a great interest in the Windsor swans.
In September she answered a letter from Lyndsay Simpson, five, who had asked if she could keep a swan. The letter read: “The Queen was encouraged to know of your interest in our native birdlife.”