Avian influenza: General advice for visitors

The Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching Code provides the following general advice to help visitors to enjoy watching wildlife whilst minimising disturbance.

  •  Avoid walking through places where birds may be feeding, resting, breeding or with their young

  • Be careful not to scare birds off nests or trample burrows/nests.

  • Do not intentionally divide or put up flocks of birds.

  • Follow any locally available advice about avoiding disturbance to wildlife.  If you’re visiting a wildlife viewing site then you may be asked to follow specific routes to minimise disturbance. 

  • Use wildlife watching hides wherever possible

  • Keep a good lookout and don’t get too close. Use binoculars or a telescope to get better views.

  • Keep your dog under close control at all times as they can cause great disturbance.  Keep dogs away from sick or dead birds.

Request to stop landings on certain island

To limit the spread of the H5N1 virus by people and give seabirds the best possible chance of survival and recovery during the current severe outbreak of HPAI, NatureScot requests that public landings are stopped on the following islands from Monday 18 July 2022,

Until end of August for breeding puffins, Arctic skuas and Arctic terns

Orkney - Calf of Eday, Swona & Muckle Skerry

Firth of Forth – Craigleith, Inchmickery, Isle of May

Until mid-September for breeding great skuas, common terns, cormorants and fulmars

Shetland - Noss

Argyll - Glas Eileanan (Sound of Mull)

Firth of Forth – Lamb and Fidra

Until mid-October for breeding gannets, storm-petrels and Manx shearwaters

Shetland - Ramna Stacks & Gruney

Western Isles - Flannan Isles, North Rona & Sula Sgeir, St Kilda (Dun, Soay, Boreray, Stac an Armin and Stac Li - excluding the main island of Hirta)

Highland - Priest Island

Argyll - Treshnish Isles

Firth of Forth – Bass Rock

NatureScot is keeping the situation under constant review on a site-by-site basis.  Restrictions will be lifted as soon as possible in discussion with site managers.

Visitors to other coastal sites should follow any locally available advice about avoiding disturbance to breeding seabirds and the general advice for visitors above.

You can read the latest update from NatureScot here.