Concerns about the booming population of gulls in a Moray town have taken a sinister turn after one was spotted with an arrow through its head.
The stricken bird was spotted in Elgin’s Cooper Park yesterday morning having been impaled by the sharp object.
Lesley Morrison, who lives nearby, spotted the injured gull while walking in the area.
She said: “It flew off and appeared to be just fine, but it must be in a lot of pain.
The Scottish SPCA warned that legal action would be taken against anyone caught hurting one of the birds – while describing a trend of violence against the species as “very concerning”.
The most recent sighting follows reports of a separate bird having a pen stuck in its head in Elgin.
Meanwhile, the SSPCA also received reports of a gull flying in Ross-shire with an arrow pierced from its tail to its neck last month.
Moray Council piloted an initiative in the New Elgin and Lesmurdie areas of Elgin in the summer to try and curb the rising population of the protected species following rising complaints from residents.
Vermin experts hired to remove nests from the roofs of homes described the birds as “bold, smart and aggressive” while warning the situation for the community could become a “serious problem” if left unchecked.
Elgin’s business improvement district has also hired specialist lasers to persuade gulls to move elsewhere.
However, SSPCA animal rescue officer Aimee Findlay warned that people taking matters into their own hands by harming the birds risked legal action being taken against them.
She said: “We can confirm we have received a report of a gull with an arrow through its head in Elgin.
“The gull is still able to fly so we haven’t been able to contain it. We are very concerned for its wellbeing and are keen to treat it as soon as possible to prevent infection, further injury and suffering.
“We want to make it clear that gulls, like all birds, are protected by law and it is a criminal offence to deliberately injure or kill a gull.”
Anyone who has any information about any of the incidents or who spots another bird injured should contact the SSPCA’s confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.