Lonely Planet Writer

Birds of prey steal nude Scottish bathers' socks and underwear

Naturists got more than they bargained for when they went skinny-dipping at a beauty spot in Scotland. When they came out they were baffled to find that  their socks and underwear had gone missing.

Red Kites pilfered naturist swimmers' underwear and socks  to line their nest for hatchlings
Red Kites pilfered naturist swimmers’ underwear and socks to line their nest for hatchlings Image by John Turner / CC BY 2.0

The mystery was only explained later when bird watchers traced the culprits to red kites eager to make a warm nest for their young.

Red kites have also been known to steal food from garden picnics and barbecues.
Red kites have also been known to steal food from garden picnics and barbecues. Image by University of Reading/PA Wire

The Daily Mirror reported that the matter was resolved when a gamekeeper discovered an array of socks and navy underpants in a nest where chicks had been hatched.

The birds of prey had pilfered the items from the a well-known spot for swimmers at Loch Lee near Glen Esk in Angus, Scotland.

Mr David Clement, head keeper at the Gannochy Estate, said it looked as if the birds were trying to sweep up the glen.

The incident has put naturists on alert to hide their clothes when stripping off for a dip.

The story of the red kite is remarkable as it was close to extinction in the UK in the last century. However a successful reintroduction programme in the past 20-30 years has led to a major recovery in number among the flock. It was named Bird of the Century in 1999 for its comeback powers by the British Trust for Ornithology.