Tayside and Central Scotland

Man threatened to snap swan's neck in Stenhousemuir park

Gary McDonald Image copyright Tim Bugler
Image caption Gary McDonald admitted interfering with a wild bird's nest

A man threatened to snap a nesting swan's neck after grabbing the bird in a Stenhousemuir park, a court has heard.

Gary McDonald ignored onlookers' pleas not to approach the swan in Crownest Park.

Falkirk Sheriff Court heard a witness who filmed the incident uploaded it to social media in a bid to "name and shame" the 29-year-old.

McDonald, from Falkirk, will be sentenced on 20 December.

He admitted interfering with a wild bird's nest, contrary to the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act, on 6 May.

Prosecutor Susan Campbell said: "A group of teenagers who saw him entering the park believed him to be drunk."

The court was told McDonald approached the group and said: "Watch this, I'm going to snap this swan's neck," before asking them to film him.

'Drunken bravado'

Miss Campbell said: "A concerned passer-by shouted out at him to leave the swan alone, but he climbed down a verge and sat very close to the nest.

"The swan became alarmed and stood up from the nest, stretching its wings to warn him off."

The court heard that McDonald then grabbed the swan by the neck and held it for several seconds.

McDonald was traced by police about two weeks later.

Defence solicitor Murray Aitken said: "This was drunken bravado before teenagers.

"I'm not seeking to minimise this for him, but he does have certain difficulties."

Sheriff Derek Livingston deferred sentence for reports.

He said: "It's fortunate for the accused that the swan didn't make use of its wings."

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