Rangers work to avoid repeat of last year’s devastating losses in breeding seabird colonies on the islands off the Northumberland coast

The Farne Islands will not open to visitors this spring in anticipation of bird flu once again ravaging breeding seabird colonies, after an “unprecedented” spate of deaths last year.

The rocky outcrop of islands off the coast of Northumberland has been looked after by the National Trust since 1925 and there are no previous records of so many endangered seabirds dying at once. More than 6,000 carcasses were picked up last year, which is believed to be the tip of the iceberg compared with how many birds would have died in total.

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