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Red kite is spotted soaring through the sky in Stoke with a McDonald’s cup clasped in its talons

Not lovin’ it: Red kite is spotted soaring through the sky with a McDonald’s cup clasped in its talons – laying bare the scourge of litter on nature

  • Photographer Chad Brown captured bird of prey in Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk
  • He said the red kite dived down before reappearing with the cup in its talons
  • RSPB said ‘heartbreaking image’ shows ‘true impact of littering on our wildlife’ 

A red kite has been spotted soaring through the sky with a McDonald’s cup clasped in its talons in an image that lays bare the scourge of litter on nature. 

Photographer Chad Brown captured the bird of prey diving down and reappearing with the cup last week in the village of Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk.

He shared the pictures to a local community group on Facebook, writing: ‘I was photographing these beautiful Red Kites the other day. 

‘I watched as one dived down for what I thought was going to be prey, but instead the Kite appeared with this McDonald’s coffee cup in its claws!’

Photographer Chad Brown captured the bird of prey diving down and reappearing with the cup last week in the village of Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk

Photographer Chad Brown captured the bird of prey diving down and reappearing with the cup last week in the village of Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk

He continued: ‘I guess it’s for nesting? 

‘But surely this pandemic has reminded us all how important our wildlife and green spaces are and it would be such a shame for them to be blighted by litter at a time when we need them the most.’

Mr Brown later told the BBC that he saw the bird ‘about half-a-mile from the nearest road, in the middle of the countryside’, adding: ‘So the cup must have been chucked from a car window.’

Social media users reacted to the photos, with one commenting: ‘Mixed emotions. Great shot but sad to see.’

Another wrote: ‘Even the wildlife are doing their bit. But seriously people should take note of the danger this could pose to all wildlife.’

A third added: ‘Wow!! Amazing photos… sadly even the wildlife are now having to clear up people’s rubbish!’

A spokesperson for McDonald’s told MailOnline: ‘We take our responsibility around litter very seriously, so it is deeply disappointing that a minority of our customers dispose of our packaging irresponsibly. 

‘For nearly 40 years, McDonald’s restaurant teams have carried out daily litter patrols in their local communities, collecting all litter not just McDonald’s branded packaging. 

Mr Brown wrote: ''I watched as one dived down for what I thought was going to be prey, but instead the Kite appeared with this McDonald's coffee cup in its claws!'

Mr Brown wrote: ”I watched as one dived down for what I thought was going to be prey, but instead the Kite appeared with this McDonald’s coffee cup in its claws!’

Social media users reacted to the photos of the red kite, with one commenting: 'Mixed emotions. Great shot but sad to see'

Social media users reacted to the photos of the red kite, with one commenting: ‘Mixed emotions. Great shot but sad to see’

‘Our teams are encouraged to extend their litter patrols to take in any litter hot spots in the local community. 

‘Large bins are also located outside of our restaurants for customers that need to dispose of any litter, or we encourage them to help us tackle the problem by taking it home and recycling or disposing of it responsibly.’

The red kite, with a wingspan of 5ft, can live up to 30 years. The majestic birds of prey, which feed on crows, rodents and worms, were common scavengers in medieval London. 

Shakespeare called it a ‘city of kites and crows’ in his play Coriolanus.

But the birds’ fortunes declined in the face of persecution and egg thefts and by the 20th century they were extinct in the UK apart from a small population of dozens which clung on in Wales. They are now again a common sight in London. 

A spokesperson for McDonald's told MailOnline: 'It is deeply disappointing that a minority of our customers dispose of our packaging irresponsibly' (file photo)

A spokesperson for McDonald’s told MailOnline: ‘It is deeply disappointing that a minority of our customers dispose of our packaging irresponsibly’ (file photo)

A spokesperson for the RSPB said: ‘Sadly this is yet another heartbreaking image of the true impact of littering on our wildlife. A few days before they are due to lay eggs red kites will begin ‘decorating’ their nest with new items they come across. 

‘In recent years we have seen reports of paper, rags, crisp packets, carrier bags, even underwear and toys have been recorded.

‘Unfortunately for many people littering seems harmless, at worst making an area look untidy. As we emerge from lockdown it is important to remember that we all have a responsibility to care for the UK. 

‘As individuals, we can all do our bit to keep our world free of litter, and support campaigns such as the Great British Spring Clean, but this needs to be coupled with strong and ambitious environmental laws from our Government to revive our world.’


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