Bird flu affecting the future of at-risk Common Terns

2023-09-11 11:15:46  • 2 mins

By Louise Cullen

BBC NI Agriculture & Environment Correspondent

Bird flu has had a significant impact on the long-term future of an at-risk species in Northern Ireland, according to the National Trust.

Twenty-one dead Common Terns were lifted from Cockle Island at Groomsport during the recent breeding season.

Just 13 breeding pairs were recorded at the site in 2021 and 2022.

It is one of six wild seabird colonies managed by the National Trust in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The charity says the disease has wreaked havoc compared to 2022, when just one colony at the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumbria was affected.

It is calling for a co-ordinated approach to protect important populations of seabirds.

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