A Bucks bird of prey had to be rescued from a broken swingball cord in a shocked family's garden this morning.

When the family, who live in Saunderton, let their dog out into their garden early on Tuesday morning (March 31), they were puzzled by his frenzied barking.

Taking a closer look, they were surprised to see a Red Kite tangled up in the broken cord of a swingball set which was hanging from a tree branch in the garden.

The family could not reach the cord, so they called on the RSPCA for help.

RSPCA animal collection officer Kate Wright went to the scene to help.

She said: “The poor bird was hanging from a broken swingball cord which I believe was already stuck high up in the tree when he flew into it. The ball was still attached to the cord.

“I tied a knife to a series of poles to cut the line from the tree, and was then able to catch the bird in my reach and rescue net.

"He looked in pretty good shape, though I could see that the cord had rubbed part of his wing, so decided to take him to a specialist centre to recover.

"I’m sure it won’t be long before he can be released back into the wild.

“Although we deal with a lot of red kite incidents in this area, this was a particularly unusual one. I’d like to thank the family for contacting us so promptly.”

The RSPCA urges people to tidy up after themselves as ropes, netting and litter can be a real hazard to wildlife.

The animal charity is called to around 5,000 incidents every year relating to litter or netting.

Kate added: "We receive many reports of incidents of wild animals being injured or trapped due to litter.

"We also see birds entangled in old netting, wire or rope which can severely injure or even kill them.

“It’s so important to ensure our litter is properly disposed of so animals don’t pay the price.”

For more information about animals and litter, visit: www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/litter.

If you spot an animal which is trapped, in distress, or in need of help, contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

Do not try to free an animal yourself or put yourself in any danger.