Disease thought to have caused bird deaths at Doffcocker Lodge

Ian Walker is now reluctant to walk his dog around the lodge

Ian Walker is now reluctant to walk his dog around the lodge

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , news feature writer

A FATAL disease is thought to be responsible for wild fowl deaths at Doffcocker Lodge.

Worried residents who live near the lodge have been shocked at the recent surge in avian deaths, including swan cygnets.

A government agency has confirmed it is likely to be due to the fatal paralytic disease botulism, caused by a poisonous nerve toxin released by bacteria — but it has also stressed that there is no evidence of risk to human health.

The Bolton News first reported water fowl deaths in July after a number of Canada geese, coots and ducks died after spending time in and around the water.

Environment Agency tests came back negative for poisonous blue-green algae, but a more recent investigation from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has confirmed botulism is likely to be to blame.

Ian Walker, aged 55, who lives in Whitecroft Road, said: “I walk my dogs around the lodge but I haven’t done it as often recently because of all the fowl deaths.

“It isn’t just swans — a number of fish and other birds have also been found dead over the last few months. Something needs to be done about it.”

A spokesperson for the AHVLA added: “In recent weeks we have received a number of reports of dead wildfowl in North West England. AHVLA investigates several incidents of suspected avian botulism in waterbirds each year in England and Wales, and these cases are very similar to the pattern at Doffcocker Lodge.

“Our investigations have found no evidence of a notifiable animal disease or risk to human health.

“The disease is not unusual although it may be associated with deaths in wild birds.”

A council spokesman said: “We have endeavoured to clean up as soon as possible to prevent further spread of the disease. We would ask that visitors do not feed the wildfowl as this can contribute to the problem.”

Anyone finding five or more dead wild birds should call Defra on 08459 33 55 77.

Avian botulism

  • Avian botulism poisoning causes death, sometimes large-scale, in various waterfowl and shorebird species.
  • Poisoning occurs when birds ingest bacteria infected by a particular virus.
  • When the bird perishes, the disease is passed on to other birds through contaminated maggots, which are not affected by the toxins.
  • Avian botulism does not cause any risk to humans.

Comments (7)

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8:29am Wed 27 Aug 14

Ernagy2 says...

No use putting the "don't feed the birds" in the paper. Put signs up Bolton Council
No use putting the "don't feed the birds" in the paper. Put signs up Bolton Council Ernagy2
  • Score: 0

3:07pm Wed 27 Aug 14

T. From Bolton says...

There have been sighn's up for over a week, one is one the bridge go look,why don't the council move the swans and cygnets to a safe environment they are supposed to be a protected bird belonging to the Queen.
There have been sighn's up for over a week, one is one the bridge go look,why don't the council move the swans and cygnets to a safe environment they are supposed to be a protected bird belonging to the Queen. T. From Bolton
  • Score: 0

3:45pm Wed 27 Aug 14

mrs patricia gregory says...

Recently saw an asian family emptying the contents of 2 or 3 round white plastic tubs into the lodge. . RICE NAAN BREAD ALL MOULDY. Just put it in. Then drove away. This surely doesnt help the birds. Same happens on Queens park. Carrier bags full of rubbish food thrown into and on paths were my dogs go. Right next to signa that say dont feed. Seems to be our ethnic friends. No regard for the qwlfare of these creatures. Swems like the juar qant to
Recently saw an asian family emptying the contents of 2 or 3 round white plastic tubs into the lodge. . RICE NAAN BREAD ALL MOULDY. Just put it in. Then drove away. This surely doesnt help the birds. Same happens on Queens park. Carrier bags full of rubbish food thrown into and on paths were my dogs go. Right next to signa that say dont feed. Seems to be our ethnic friends. No regard for the qwlfare of these creatures. Swems like the juar qant to mrs patricia gregory
  • Score: 3

3:50pm Wed 27 Aug 14

mrs patricia gregory says...

Recently saw an asian family emptying the contents of 2 or 3 round white plastic tubs into the lodge. . RICE NAAN BREAD ALL MOULDY. Just put it in. Then drove away. This surely doesnt help the birds. Same happens on Queens park. Carrier bags full of rubbish food thrown into and on paths were my dogs go. Right next to signa that say dont feed. Seems to be our ethnic friends. No regard for the welfare of these creatures. Seems like the jus wantt toget rid of their domwstic waate in our nature spots
Recently saw an asian family emptying the contents of 2 or 3 round white plastic tubs into the lodge. . RICE NAAN BREAD ALL MOULDY. Just put it in. Then drove away. This surely doesnt help the birds. Same happens on Queens park. Carrier bags full of rubbish food thrown into and on paths were my dogs go. Right next to signa that say dont feed. Seems to be our ethnic friends. No regard for the welfare of these creatures. Seems like the jus wantt toget rid of their domwstic waate in our nature spots mrs patricia gregory
  • Score: 0

6:44pm Wed 27 Aug 14

manchester1 says...

A FATAL disease ......obviously
A FATAL disease ......obviously manchester1
  • Score: 2

7:42pm Fri 29 Aug 14

laura bee says...

Ernagy2 wrote:
No use putting the "don't feed the birds" in the paper. Put signs up Bolton Council
They have.
[quote][p][bold]Ernagy2[/bold] wrote: No use putting the "don't feed the birds" in the paper. Put signs up Bolton Council[/p][/quote]They have. laura bee
  • Score: 0

7:46pm Fri 29 Aug 14

laura bee says...

Would it be possible to change the article to state that you should report ANY dead birds at Doffcocker to environmental health or Andy Grundy at the council not just 5 or more. Dead birds need to removed asap to help prevent the spread of the disease. Out of the 2 swans and 6 cygnets, 2 of the cygnets have died, 2 are with the RSPCA and the male swan has recently died.
Would it be possible to change the article to state that you should report ANY dead birds at Doffcocker to environmental health or Andy Grundy at the council not just 5 or more. Dead birds need to removed asap to help prevent the spread of the disease. Out of the 2 swans and 6 cygnets, 2 of the cygnets have died, 2 are with the RSPCA and the male swan has recently died. laura bee
  • Score: 2
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