This footage shows the dangers of plastic waste after a bird at sea was snapped with a piece of rubbish caught around its beak leading birdwatchers to believe it may die.
Videos and pictures of the greater crested tern (Thalasseus bergii) were snapped on the banks of Lanyang River in Taiwan’s eastern county of Yilan.
Video Credit: AsiaWire
The bird, also called a swift tern, was spotted by ornithologist Liao Chiu-hao, whose footage shows the animal trying to shake the plastic off but to no avail.
In the videos, other nearby birds also appear to attempt a rescue, but the crested tern is unable to dislodge the large piece of plastic forcing its beak shut.
Huang Shu-ting, head of Taiwan’s informal Bird Photographers Club, said crested terns nest along the island’s coastlines in large numbers during breeding season every summer.
She has called the images a “warning” – and a clear indication of the dangerous of plastic waste.
Huang said a rescue at this stage would be unlikely to succeed, as greater crested terns are highly alert and fly away at the first sign of danger.
“Last year birdwatchers spotted a crested tern with a plastic tube stuck in his beak. It was at least still able to forage,” Huang said.
She added: “This crested tern can’t even open its beak. Its chances of survival are bleak.”
Huang said: “I don’t want to see images like this ever again. Taiwan is a maritime nation. We have to cherish our coastlines and understand the dangers of plastic, which will eventually affect us, too.”
Yilan’s Agriculture Department has said it will be difficult to catch the crested tern in order to attempt a rescue.
However, it has asked members of the public to notify them if they see the bird weak or injured.