HEART-wrenching pictures show a buzzard too exhausted to flee walkers after struggling to find food during one of the harshest winters for years.
The magnificent raptors are usually seen soaring high looking for prey so Stuart Sutherland was amazed to find a bedraggled specimen perched apathetically on a tree stump.
The buzzard allowed him to get so close he was able to take a selfie which he posted to social media.
Concerned viewers said the feared the bird, photographed in the Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh, was starving to death.
The Scottish SPCA said lack of food amid the ongoing bad weather was the most likely reason for the buzzard’s plight and appealed to the public to help feed them.
Stuart, from Bathgate, West Lothian, was walking near Harlaw Reservoir with his wife, Emma, and their five sons, when they came across the bird.
The 41-year-old social worker captioned his pictures: “I can’t believe this wee fella let me get as close to him today.”
Michael Reynolds responded: “That wee guy is starving to death. No energy to move. Maybe the last blast of cold weather was just enough to make him like this.”
Heather Bowman wrote: “Looks cold wet and hungry. There is not much prey for them out there in this weather. This weather is rubbish for lots wildlife at the moment, roll on warmer days.”
And Donna Pickett added: “If a wild bird is letting someone get that close to them then there’s something wrong with the bird.
“Has someone contacted the local SSPCA or wildlife people in concern of this?”
David Adams claimed: “He is hungry and quite possibly thinking of giving up the ghost dude, or poisoned. I hope you had something to feed him with. A rare opportunity and one to be savoured all the same.”
But Rachael Rigby was more optimistic: “For the bird to be puffed up, its inner feathers must be dry, ergo it is not soaked through.
“So he isn’t freezing or hypothermic. I’m not saying he’s not ill but he’s spent his whole life outside. He is evolutionarily designed to handle bad weather.”
And Stuart himself responded: “He’s out in the rain, I’d be distressed too. He’s already came through the two beasts from the east. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
Scottish SPCA Deputy Chief Superintendent Tom Gatherer added: “Freezing temperatures and snow can be very dangerous for wildlife.
“During the cold and snowy weather food sources will be scarce, so it is kind to feed wild birds.”