09:00, 16 JAN 2016
BY LYNN DUKE
Penguin-like little auks to be cared for in Fishcross by the charity
The Scottish SPCA is caring for 100 little auks caught out by Storm Frank, including some that found their way to the Strath.
The charity, which has a centre at Fishcross, has received a surge in calls from people who have discovered the unusual birds in their gardens or while out walking.
Some of the birds, normally found out at sea, have been discovered way off course in Crieff and Comrie.
The small black and white seabird is the size of a starling and resembles a tiny penguin. It has a stubby black bill and a short neck and tail.
The species breeds in the Arctic and winters in the North Atlantic but is a winter visitor to the waters around the UK in small numbers each year. Some birds enter the North Sea in autumn and large numbers can be seen passing offshore during gales. It is these birds that have been swept too far inland by the stormy weather.
Local resident Caroline Greene found one of the stricken birds in the woods at Dollerie last week.
She said: “He was very weak and thin and all his feathers were completely sodden so we put him in our potting shed to dry off. I didn’t recognise the bird at all and asked a friend and her father what it could be.