To ensure optimum quality at Bathing Waters, the control of diffuse sources of bacterial contamination is receiving increasing attention. As part of an initiative to improve the quality of the EU designated bathing waters on the Fylde Coast (North West England), a project was undertaken to quantify the faecal indicator load from birds and assess the significance on water quality. High bird counts are encountered on the Fylde Coast with gulls, feral pigeons and starlings being prominent. The piers at Blackpool make an attractive roost for starlings with numbers peaking at over 30,000 in late summer. Systematic recording of bird numbers and locations was undertaken during 2001/2. Estimates were also made of the daily faecal organism production by the different species. The spatial distribution of faecal organisms from the bird population was statistically linked to synoptic water quality data. This allowed estimates to be made of the contribution from birds to the faecal pollution load at the bathing waters. The work confirmed a statistically significant link between bird populations and water quality with a marked seasonal bias.

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