Tayside and Central Scotland

Bird's fishy antics baffles nature reserve experts

Kingfisher Image copyright Ron Mitchell
Image caption The bird has pinned the three fish to the branch by their spines

Photographs showing a kingfisher appearing to hang fish out to dry has baffled experts at a wildlife reserve.

The birds kill sticklebacks by striking them against their perches, which softens the spines of the fish, making them easier to swallow.

But a kingfisher at Montrose Basin appears to have gone a step further by using the spines to pin three sticklebacks to its branch.

The bird's unusual behaviour was captured by photographer Ron Mitchell.

Image copyright Ron Mitchell
Image caption The bird's odd behaviour was snapped by photographer Ron Mitchell

Anna Cheshier, Angus ranger at Scottish Wildlife Trust's Montrose Basin wildlife reserve, said the kingfisher visited every day.

She said: "The photographer who took the images didn't realise what he had captured until he took them into the visitor centre the following day.

"It's hard to tell if the kingfisher has hung the fish on the branch accidentally or on purpose, but this is really unusual behaviour that no-one seems to be able to explain.

"We'd like anyone who has seen anything like this before to get in touch."

Kingfishers are found around lochs, ponds and rivers and rely on clean water to be able to dive for small fish and aquatic insects.

There are around 5,000 breeding pairs in the UK.

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