A SHOCKING image shows a moorhen and her tiny chick in a nest surrounded by discarded litter.
Concerned local Justine Stansfield captured the heartbreaking scene on the Water of Leith in Edinburgh on Friday.
The image shows the black and white bird resting on a bed of litter while protecting its newborn chick who is nestled in beside her.
The chick’s tiny red beak is shown poking out near its mother’s chest while the pair are surrounded by crisp packets, polystyrene food containers and wrappers.
They are both resting on a surgical mask usually worn when entering a shop during the Covid pandemic.
An empty can of Jack Daniel’s rum and coke, kitchen wipes and used balloons are also shown just inches away from the resting pair.
Justine shared the image on Friday, writing: “There’s a baby moorhen hiding under there. Sad that their nest is litter.”
Social media users were shocked by the distressing sight.
Diane Scotland said: “Bloody hell, the things our precious wildlife has to endure due to disgusting humans.”
Catherine Renton said: “If only people thought before they dropped.”
Mel Tonkin said: “Look how nature overcomes human despoliation – this handsome bird breeding despite it all.”
Kirsty Rain said: “Poor nature, humans make me sad.”
Colin Harper said: “Humanity has a lot to answer for, what a sad state of affairs we have created.”
Helena Kelly said: “That’s shocking.”
There have been many petitions to clear up Scotland’s waterways with over 12,000 signatures on a petition currently hoping to be heard in Parliament.