A wildlife photographer has been blasted for trying to capture a perfect bird picture by creating a prop
A wildlife photographer has been blasted for trying to capture a perfect bird picture by creating a prop made from branches and sprayed with fake snow.
Peanut butter was also smeared on the branches, found at RSPB Loch Garten, in the Cairngorms, to lure birds.
Reserve staff described the pine tree branch structure as “ridiculous” and criticised the snapper for trying to use the forest as a “personal studio.”
They said the fake snow risked exposing wildlife to harmful chemicals, while birds have been spotted with feathers covered in peanut butter grease.
Staff at the site at Abernethy, near Nethy Bridge, have found other artificial “perches”, which they said had caused damage to the natural environment.
The site’s staff said the majority of visitors respected the surroundings.
But they added that it was “not okay” for a minority of visitors to use the reserve as their “personal studio”.
Branches have also been found on picnic tables along with foodstuff to lure birds, and snapped branches have been discovered forced into deadwood to create props.
A spokeswoman for RSPB Scotland said: ”Unfortunately, more and more visitors seem to be intent on destroying the natural landscape of RSPB Loch Garten for their personal use.
“At the Osprey Centre, it seems that everyday there are freshly snapped branches forced into valuable standing deadwood, piles of brash left on top of the picnic tables and nasty substances used to lure birds onto ‘perches.’
“At the weekend the ridiculous structure pictured was built just outside the visitor centre, lavishly covered in fake snow and then smeared with peanut butter.
“It is not OK to use the forest as your personal studio. The fake snow is full of incredibly nasty chemicals, peanut butter is particularly unhealthy for birds and any plant material is vital habitat for all sorts of organisms. “These horrible structures also detract from the natural beauty of the reserve. I know that the vast majority of our visitors are respectful, honest and genuinely caring about the natural world. What a shame that the few seem intent on spoiling it.
“We strongly discourage the use of peanut butter on the reserve as it gets stuck in the bills and feet of birds.
“When the birds then preen themselves, their feathers become coated in grease and oil, potentially affecting their ability to fly and insulate themselves against the cold.
“We’ve had several visitors inform us of their sightings of coal and great tits with feathers covered in grease and peanut butter all over their bills.”