The bird feeding question

Bruce the swan, as painted by Wanstead artist David Kavanagh (Instagram)

Bird flu continues to take its toll on wild birds – including the much admired black swan Bruce, who was formerly a beloved feature of Eagle Pond.

And a debate is raging between those who fear feeding birds encourages them to come into contact with each other and thus risk spreading the disease, and those who think feeding the birds strengthens them and will make them more resilient.

Richard Arnopp of the Friends of Wanstead Parklands has set out their position on feeding – for the time being their advice follows that given by Epping Forest, which is that people should not feed birds. His full statement is below.

Richard Arnopp of Friends of Wanstead Park writes:

Avian Influenza – “bird flu” – has been much in the news in recent months, and nobody who visits the Friends’ Facebook page could be unaware of the impact it has had locally. 

Bird flu is not new. It was first described in 1878 as “fowl plague” but has certainly been around a lot longer than that. The virus naturally spreads most readily among wild waterfowl and shorebirds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. Unfortunately, many of the wild species which are most at risk are migratory, often over vast distances, and carry the virus with them.

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Some Wanstead Xmas event highlights

Lots of events going on this weekend as Christmas comes nearer -here are some highlights. You can see full listings on the Wanstead Events Calendar – (and remember if there’s an event you want to get listed, please add the details on this page: Add events)

Wanstead’s first frost, 2022

Every autumn, we make a note the first frost of the season, and that was on Wednesday. Our tradition was always intended to be a small reassuring note of continuity, but our weirdly mild season means this first frost is the latest since records began (on this site, in 2010).

2022 – 6 December
2021 – 2 November
2020 – 4 November
2019 – 4 November
2018 – 25 September
2017 – 30 October
2016 – 2 November
2015 – 23 November
2014 – 6 November
2013 – 13 November
2012 – 6 November
2011 – 25 November
2010 – 21 October

The least religious roads in Wanstead are…

Halstead and Cowley Roads. The 2021 census data published by the ONS which measured people’s descriptions of their own religion is shown on this map, with the dark blue area being the highest response for ‘no religion’.

Map: ons.gov.uk, copyright Ordnance Survey, Open Street Map

With even only a quick glance at the data, available here, it’s obvious that it’s hard to draw any meaningful conclusions about why there should be these differences in rates. That doesn’t stop it being interesting though.

New tools

Congratulations to High Street favourites Imran and Nas Asghar on the opening of their new venture, a grocer and butcher’s focusing on organic fruit and vegetables, organic/free range meat, and specialising in marinated options. The brothers moved their other shop, the Tool Box, 100m further up the high street and have employed Wajid, right, who has decades of experience as a butcher, to run the new shop, called Daniyal’s. Good luck to them all.