Peregrine Falcon Picks Up Discarded Face Mask Before Flying Off
Wildlife photographer Steve Shipley had taken a trip to North Yorkshire to try and get some shots of the young bird.
But checking through his photos later on, he realised that he had captured the bird with a face mask wrapped around its talons.
Steve, 53, said: "I was there to photograph the juvenile peregrine falcon who must be only three or four weeks old, as they are such beautiful birds.
"Initially I thought this one was carrying a plastic bag but then I spotted the blue colour and realised it was a face mask, which I think must have been discarded at a nearby tourist spot.
"It obviously thought it was food and could have died if it ate it.
"The peregrine flew with it for about 10 minutes, it seemed to get entangled at one stage in its talons.
"The peregrine is one of the most protected birds in the country and this is one of the saddest things I have seen while I have been doing wildlife photography.
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"Why can't people dispose of these masks properly? They are supposed to protect us but obviously not wildlife."
Steve reckons the bird most likely found the face mask at a nearby tourist spot.
While it's good to see that so many people in the UK are taking things seriously and donning their face masks when out and about, it's important that people are disposing of them properly to ensure they're not at risk of hurting wildlife.
Just last week, RSPCA Essex South shared a photo on its Twitter account showing a seagull that found itself all tied up in a face mask.
RSPCA inspector Adam Jones said: "Staff at a car showroom nearby had spotted the gull around a week earlier and were concerned that he seemed to be struggling to walk.
A young gull with a disposable face mask tangled round its legs. As it has been there a while the poor birds limbs and joints are swollen. Hopefully with veterinary care at @SEWH he will soon recover. @RSPCA_official @RSPCA_Frontline pic.twitter.com/uqGCP7tlUf- RSPCA Essex South (@rspcaessexsth) July 19, 2020
"As soon as I caught him it was clear to see why as the poor thing had a disposable Covid face mask tangled around both legs."
The poor bird had to be taken to a local wildlife hospital to receive treatment after its joints became swollen and painful.
Featured Image Credit: BNPS/Steve Shipley