Highlands & Islands

Photograph of rare bird on Uist sparks plastic bags plea

Red-throated diver with plastic bag Image copyright RSPB Scotland

RSPB Scotland has urged people to discard unwanted plastic bags carefully after a rare bird was photographed with one caught in its beak.

The red-throated diver was photographed by a visitor to a lochan in a remote part of North Uist.

The birds are on the RSPB's amber list after a recent decline in numbers.

Jamie Boyle, site manager of the RSPB's Uist reserves, said plastic bags can kill birds if they eat, or become entangled, in one.

He said: "We urge people to take great care in the way they dispose of plastic bags or, indeed, any other rubbish, particularly balloons and Chinese lanterns.

"They pose a direct threat to our wildlife and it is depressing to think that plastic bags are even reaching remote lochans in a place like North Uist."

Mr Boyle added: "Marine birds such as red-throated divers are particularly at risk both at sea and on their breeding grounds where they can mistake the bags for fish or mistakenly use it for nesting material."

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