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Baby bird photographed holding cigarette butt in its beak

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A photo of a baby bird clutching a cigarette butt is being held up as the latest example of the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans.

The photo of the skimmer chick was taken by birdwatcher Karen Mason on a Florida beach.

In a second shot, an adult skimmer bird can be seen passing the rubbish to the chick.

Ms Mason said the birds “feed by skimming along the water with their beaks open”.

“When the bottom mandible touches something the top one snaps shut,” she said.

She said the adult bird probably picked up the butt in shallow water and then shared it with the chick.

Ms Mason urged beach users to dispose of cigarette butts thoughtfully.

“This could have been a child, too. What we are doing to our Earth may not affect you but it will affect our grandchildren,” she said.

According to NBC News, cigarette butts are the single largest source of ocean rubbish, with more than 60 million collected from beaches since 1986.

Trillions of cigarettes are manufactured every year and most of them have filters, which are made from a form of plastic.

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