Seagull Still Alive Though Injured by Crossbow by Graham Rhodes

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A seagull which has been flying around a seaside town for two weeks with a crossbow bolt through its head has eluded efforts by rescuers to catch it.

The bird has been seen swooping around Scarborough, apparently unaffected by the dart-like object, which is about the length of a pen, sticking out of its head.

The injured bird was pictured by local gallery owner Graham Rhodes – who was shocked to find the seagull perched on a pier wall with the bolt through its head.

Worryingly, it is not the only gull that has been targeted as another was left with an injured wing. Mr Rhodes, 60, fears the attacks could herald an increase of violence in the town.

The father-of-one, who runs the Aakschipper Gallery, said: "My main worry is there is someone walking the streets of Scarborough with a crossbow and shooting at birds.

"If they are shooting at gulls in the sky and miss, the bolts have to go somewhere and could take someone's eye out.

"I see it most days sitting on the wall near my gallery, it just acts like a normal seagull but with a large dart through its head.

"It doesn't appear in any pain or discomfort. It isn't as flighty as the others but I have seen it flying about.

"The gulls are coming up to the breeding season and I keep seeing this one with its mate when I walk my dog in the area. It is such a sad sight.

"It was a real shock when I saw it and wasn't sure what it actually was until I took the picture and blew it up. Initially I thought was a pen but when I got a closer look I was sure it was the bolt from a crossbow.

"You can't see it in the photo but the gull has been shot right between the eyes and the bolt come out the back of its head – it makes you wonder where a seagull's brain is. It is worrying that somebody is walking around with a weapon like this."

RSPCA staff have tried to catch the bird but without success.

Geoff Edmond, RSPCA inspector for the Scarborough area, said: 'It is absolutely appalling and completely illegal to be shooting birds in this manner.

"It is remarkable that the gull with the bolt in its head is still flying because the object could have hit the brain or fractured its skull."

Anyone with information about the attacks can contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234999.

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