A wild bird charity is calling for people to flock together and support it.

Manx Wild Bird Aid is appealing for donations as it is at ‘critically low funding levels’.

It is due to the increase of avian influenza (bird flu) cases across the island, with all birds in its care now requiring testing for the virus.

One box of 20 tests for the charity costs more than £150.

Over the past few weeks there has been a surge in dead birds being washed up, particularly around Port Erin and Peel.

Manx Wild Bird Aid focuses on the rehabilitation of sick, injured or orphaned wild birds, and bird flu is an additional expense on top of their normal work.

With the increase in bird flu cases, along with the rise in inflation and the cost of living crisis, the charity, which is run by a group of volunteers, is appealing for donations from the Manx public to continue its work.

It said that many of the island’s residents have used this service, with more than 1,000 wild birds passing through their hands annually, and now they’re simply pleading for their support.

David Cole, co-founder of the charity, said: ‘We have to take precautions to prevent the disease spreading to birds already in our care.

‘We use avian flu test kits, which work in a similar manner to a human Covid test, and although they are not 100 per cent accurate, they do give us a good indication of the presence of bird flu.

‘The kits cost around £165 for 20 tests, multiply this by the number of birds we have to test and it becomes a large financial drain on our resources.’

Tests by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) confirmed the deaths of birds in the island have been caused by the high pathogenic avian influenza, H5N1.

This is deemed as one of the most transmissible variations of bird flu, however transmission to humans is rare so it poses little risk to the public.

Mr Cole explains it’s not a simple process when a bird tests positive for any strain of bird flu.

He said: ‘If we have a bird that tests positive, then we have to disinfect anything it’s been in contact with. ‘We use a special anti-viral disinfection [Virkon] on equipment before it can be reused.

‘All new arrivals have to be kept in isolation for several days, this means we have limited space to take new arrivals, even though we have purchased additional cages.

‘This is why we cannot always take in new cases.’

Manx Wild Bird Aid is entirely funded by donations from the public, and for information on how to donate you can go to the website: www.wildbirdaid.com/donate.