Focus on their future

Help scientists understand the long-term impacts of wildlife disease. Together we can protect threatened birds.

A Gannet looking direct to camera, it has a black iris, indicating it has survived Avian Flu.
On this page

English | Cymraeg

Thanks to generous donations to our Wildlife Disease Fund, the RSPB now has a dedicated team of scientists searching for answers to the ever-growing threat of diseases like Avian Flu, Trichomonosis, and the Usutu virus. Right now, we’re working with colleagues in the wider scientific community to understand the long-term impact of disease.

Support our Wildlife Disease Fund every month

The threat of wildlife disease isn’t going away and its effect will be felt for years to come, as the populations of already threatened species, such as Gannets and Greenfinches, struggle to recover. Our scientists need your ongoing monthly support today, to help deliver vital research. This work will:

  • Inform where we need to take urgent direct conservation action to save our most threatened birds.
  • Help to build a case for wildlife-friendly policies to tackle other threats birds face, helping to make them more resilient to future disease outbreaks.
  • Help us be better prepared for the next outbreak or new disease to emerge.

By focusing on the future, together we can find much needed answers to wildlife disease.

Choose to donate monthly

Kittiwake perched on a cliff edge, the sea below them.

How does disease affect wildlife’s future?

Avian Flu has had a catastrophic impact on UK seabirds. There has been a 76% decline in breeding Great Skuas across Scotland, and 25% of our breeding Gannets were also lost in 2023. RSPB Conservation Scientist Dr Susie Gold is looking at global research to help predict how birds affected by Avian Flu may recover. Your monthly gift can help Susie understand what actions could make bird populations more resilient and what can be done better in the event of another disease outbreak to limit its impact.

Swabbing for signs of Trichomonosis on a garden bird feeder.

How does Trichomonosis spread among garden birds?

Right now, Conservation Scientist Will Kirby, is surveying gardens nationwide to understand how this parasite passes from one bird to another. Is it through parents feeding their young? Or via bird feeders or bird baths? By swabbing for signs of the parasite, Will hopes to combat a deadly disease that put Greenfinches onto the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern. His discoveries could help develop even better cleaning regimes or designs for bird feeders to make them safer.

Licenced RSPB staff carefully tag a Gannet to help with species monitoring.

How might Gannets recover?

Dr Connie Tremlett is looking at the impact Avian Flu has had on our globally important Gannet populations. In 2022 the disease led to 16,000 empty nests at RSPB Grassholm in Wales, halving the size of the colony. As Gannets produce just one chick a year, it will take years for them to bounce back. But your support each month could help us continue to monitor nest sites and new chick productivity in the long term. This insight could help us push for policy and conservation action to limit threats, so that Gannets are better able to face future challenges.

A cover shot of Impact magazine, featuring an Albatross.

See your impact

Every monthly gift to our Wildlife Disease Fund will support scientific research, policy and conservation action to tackle diseases threatening our wild birds today and in years to come. To thank you, we’ll send you our Impact newsletter, updating you on all our work and how wildlife is faring.

Share this article