Just seen reports re panicked people not feeding mute swans in Austria, Poland
Prompted me to send this missive around:
Wonder if people stopping feeding swans will have helped prompt them to move – especially in freezing weather – and with mute swans mainly sedentary in Europe (?), perhaps they were pretty clueless about where to go, so dispersed widely towards west and south. [While the affected whooper and Bewick’s swans are in more regular places.]
Doesn’t explain how and where they got infected.
In east Asia – China at least – swans not normally fed; indeed, can become food for people. Whether this is of some importance in swans in east Asia not being affected to marked extent (only 1 wild swan death reported?), hard to say.
Seen notions from Germany that the virus may have been present for months, only causing effects when temps very low. I’m sceptical about this.
In Hong Kong/Shenzhen – which get chilly but not below freezing – ornamental black and black-necked swans have died of H5N1. Yes, maybe these are more readily cold stressed than European swans (?), but died during outbreaks not cold spells.
Virus has now arrived in various places in Europe, in swans.
But, now to see whether it stays there – or will it die with the swans? (Romanian research important here I think: waterbirds sharing ponds with infected swans weren’t infected; swans excreting only low amounts of virus. Hope more research like this is being done.)
Here in Hong Kong, no reports of H5N1 infected birds since the small flurry around Chinese New Year.
And, at apparent epicentre of H5N1 of Guangdong goose 96 lineage, no reports or sign of H5N1 in migratory waterbirds this autumn/winter. (All those who believe wild birds readily carry H5N1 – explain this please.)