Storms blow Arctic seabirds into Falkirk

Picture courtesy of SSPCA
Picture courtesy of SSPCA

Stranded Arctic seabirds similar to penguins have been found in Falkirk after being blown inland by the recent storms.

Several little auks, which usually winter far out at sea in Europe and North America, were found in the Falkirk area, including in Callendar Park, this week.

Picture courtesy of SSPCA

Picture courtesy of SSPCA

The SSPCA say they were “weak and thin” when officers rescued them after being contacted by members of the public.

The cute birds usually live on the open sea, however, it is believed they have been swept ashore by recent storms Eva and Frank.

Colin Seddon, manager of the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre, said, “We have rescued many little auks from all over Scotland this past week, including several found in the Falkirk area, which have been caught out by the recent storms.

“These birds normally winter far out to sea and have been blown inland. The little auks we have rescued were found weak and thin and would have had great difficulty taking off once grounded.”

Picture courtesy of SSPCA

Picture courtesy of SSPCA

Wildlife lover Les Wallace, who organises Falkirk’s Nature-Fest event, found one in Callendar Park on Tuesday and alerted the animal charity.

He said: “This is a bizarre wildlife event. Auks are beautiful Arctic seabirds and when the SSPCA inspector turned up to collect it he had three or four other ones in his van. They are amazing things that usually live in the high Arctic.

“The Inuit make a really weird delicacy called Kiviak out of them. This is probably a once in a lifetime event for anybody who loves wildlife.”

Auks are similar to penguins in appearance, habits and posture but are not closely related. They usually live on the open sea and only go ashore for breeding.

Picture courtesy of SSPCA

Picture courtesy of SSPCA

Anyone who finds one of the birds should call the SSPCA’s animal helpline on 03000 999 999.