Teamwork helps to save bird in a flap

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A gull had a lucky escape after he was spotted struggling to fly because a plastic shopping bag had tangled tightly around his foot.

Luckily, a passer-by called the RSPCA for help and waited with the gull until animal welfare officer (AWO) Peter Warne arrived to help.

The gull was struggling to fly and flapping his wings in a panic, close to the White Lion Retail Park on Boscombe Road, Dunstable on Thursday. (26 April.)

The bird had made its way into the bus lane of the road, and Peter knew he’d have to act fast to confine him so he could remove the bag safely.

Peter said: “This poor bird was struggling to walk with the bag on his foot and couldn’t fly higher than around 4ft, which put him in real danger. Every time he flapped his wings and lifted off the ground, the plastic bag blew open with air and weighed him down.

“When I arrived he was in the road, but a bus driver had stopped his vehicle to create a barrier so I could get hold of the bird. It took me a little while as the gull was understandably nervous of me, but I did manage to catch him and was able to remove the plastic shopping bag from his foot. As the gull was otherwise unharmed, I released him straight away and watched him fly off.

“It could have been a very different story for the gull had we not been called to help, as he was vulnerable to dangers such as an attack from a predator like a fox, or being hit by a vehicle.

“It was very sad to see a wild bird trapped in litter like that, and I’d like to remind people of the importance of properly disposing of their rubbish. Such a simple act of throwing your rubbish away can prevent this sort of thing from happening.”

You can find out more about how to help animals by getting the RSPCA’s Guide to Animal Kindness online, which includes lots of suggestions for little acts of kindness towards animals.

Anyone who finds an injured wild animal can contact the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 1234 999.