At first Bence thought this black-headed gull was carrying a particularly long reed. It was breeding season after all and the gulls were gathering nesting material. Reviewing the photo he saw that the reed was actually a clothes hanger. ‘I saw this poor bird flying around for two more days before it disappeared,’ says Bence.
Black-headed gulls usually feed on insects, earthworms and fish, but have also taken to scavenging for food on rubbish heaps. It’s likely that this is where this individual picked up the hanger. Seabirds are particularly vulnerable to plastic pollution and this is a stark reminder of the impact our waste has on wildlife.
Nikon D700; Sigma 300-800mm f5.6 lens at 600mm; 1/800 sec at f8; ISO 1000; Gitzo tripod.
Kiskunság National Park, Hungary
Sign up to receive emails from the Natural History Museum about events and exhibitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.