'Do Not Feed The Gulls' posters along seven Scottish beaches - including in Ayrshire- have been challenged by experts. 

The posters, which are part of the Keep Scotland Beautiful's My Beach Your Beach campaign, state that bird poo contributes to water pollution.

Orthinology experts from the likes of RSPB Scotland and the British Trust for Ornithology have responded to the campaign saying that they cannot support the sign's message.

The posters have been displayed on seven Scottish beaches including the likes of Ayr, Troon, Irvine, Saltcoats, Kinghorn, Portobello and Fisherrow in Musselburgh.

Bird Poo Poster on Ayrshire beaches challenged by experts

Speaking to BBC Scotland,  the Conservation charity RSPB Scotland explained that guano or seabird droppings are important sources of nutrients for various marine species like phytoplankton.

Since 1970, herring gull numbers have declined by more than 50% according to the RSPB spokeswoman as a result of changes in their natural food supplies.

She added: "Gulls need our help, or at least our tolerance, all the species breeding in the UK are of conservation concern with some in very serious trouble.

"Gulls have traditionally lived along our coastlines, we can help by learning to live alongside them."

Guano contains phosphorus and nitrogen that lets phytoplankton grow for it then to become a food source for other marine life including the fish that they eat.

The RSPB spokeswoman continued by explaining that it does not recommend feeding gulls in urban environments since it can lead to them begging and stealing food from people.

Running since 2018, the My Beach Your Beach campaign is a collaborative effort between environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful and ScotRail that looks to encourage people to take small steps to maintain Scottish beaches.

You'll also find other posters in the campaign that give advice on everything from littering to disposing of fats and oils.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, a Keep Scotland Beautiful spokeswoman said: "Gull and dog poo have been found to contribute to bathing water contamination and can affect bathing water classifications."