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Thursday, June 7, 2012

What a bird brain! Seagull risks its life by nesting perilously close to railway track

-Brave bird nests inches from railway line in Lochaber, Scotland
-Train passengers fear its chicks may wander onto track when they hatch

By Chris Parsons

Unruffled: The bird continues to look unconcerned even as the wheels of a large train carriage pass directly next to its home

Setting up in a new home can be fraught with pitfalls, but this plucky seagull has chosen a risky nesting place by any standards.

The foolhardy bird opted for a spot with excellent transport links - after setting up its home inches away from a busy railway line at Mallaig terminus in Lochaber, Scotland.

The seagull's daring new home has become the source of much amusement with train passengers, who can see the bird sitting on its eggs on the side of the track as carriages pass by.

Cutting it fine: The seagull appears unruffled by a train steaming past as it sits near its nest in Lochaber, Scotland.

Home sweet home: The seagull and its unusual choice of nesting spot has become a hit with train passengers in Scotland

Retired senior manager Geoff Wheeler was one of those who took pictures of the nest while on holiday with his wife.

Mr Wheeler, 69, from Ballsall Common, near Coventry, said: 'When we arrived at the station we spotted the nest next to an adjacent track with the bird sitting on top.

'I snapped some photos but it was cold and rainy so we went to a pub for a few hours to warm up.

'When we returned the gull was still dutifully warming its eggs and there were a group of passengers taking photos.

'It was incredible and I have never seen anything like it before. The train sped past and it didn’t flinch.

Dicing with death: The seagull sits carefully on its eggs, apparently indifferent to the danger of the track next to its head

Despite the bird caring for its young next the railway, passengers have expressed concern that the chicks could hatch and find their way on to the track

'I think what happened was the rail line has only recently started operating for the summer, so when the bird built its nest there were no trains around.

'I’ve been an amateur bird watcher and in my experience birds are not too bothered about the presence of a machine, it’s people they are more worried about.'

Geoff added: 'My only concern is when the eggs hatch, which will be soon, the youngsters will be crawling about and could find their way onto the track.

'But it’s very difficult to move a nest because you can spook the parents and they may not come back.'



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