Baikal Teal

Is there a significant potential risk of Baikal Teal being affected by the latest strains of bird flu? Since the vast bulk of the world population seems to congregate during the winter in just a handful of enormous flocks, mainly in S Korea, might the species be especially susceptible to a virulent form of the disease?

Share this

Hi Duncan:

I'd figure this is a real concern. Maybe not v high risk just yet - but something to watch for.
Likewise with some of the other waterfowl that can become highly concentrated in east Asia (sadly, they aren't all over the place as some folk maybe suggest). For instance, the majority of the world's lesser white-fronted geese winter at Dongting Lake, along Yangzi valley.

Virus just might come from migrant flying in; but also I think from effluent from poultry farms that suffer infections (as you may see from my comments elsewhere, I think this is far more likely route; it's my guess for how h5n1 got into Qinghai birds anyway - whether there, or not far south on migration routes).

Tough to know how much of a concern this is. Note, say, Hong Kong has substantial concentrations of wintering waterbirds, but as yet the few wild birds that were known to have bird flu sickened/died without transmitting into the wild flocks. Likewise, when h5n1 into Openbill Storks in Thailand, which also in large concentrations, rather few birds infected and died, leaving most ok. So, maybe not so easy to spread and sustain this infection in wild birds (partly as it's so virulent).

As well as this potential, Nial Moores of Birds Korea has expressed concerns re farmers' reactions should h5n1 near South Korea this winter: how will they view massive flock of wild duck? (esp if get more scaremongering in media; already had one Korean prof saying wild stuff re wild birds spreading bird flu - nonsense, but made media; sensible rebuttals less attention grabbing)

Well, that's my four penn'orth on this, anyway.

Martin

Post edited by: martin, at: 2005/08/16 09:02