It was one of two puffins, which are classed as an endangered species, released near Elie on December 28 with the assistance of the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick.
Christened Tony and Don by the charity, the two birds were brought in to the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre within hours of each other on December 8.
April Dodds, assistant manager of the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre, said “Don was found at around 9am on 8 December on a beach in Montrose. He had an injured leg and was sitting on the beach feeling very sorry for himself.
“Tony came in just a few hours later from a beach in Fife, a member of the public’s dog found him under a pile of seaweed, injured and soaked through from the rain.”
She added: “Both these birds were very lucky to have been found and we’d like to thank the members of public involved for taking the time to stop and help them.
“As puffins are sociable birds we decided to pair the two of them up so they could have some company during their rehabilitation.
“After a few weeks of medical treatment from our specialist veterinary team, plenty of rest and a good feed they were ready to be released.
“We’d like to say thank you to our friends at the Scottish Seabird Centre who helped us with the release.
“Tony and Don were released on December 28 near Elie and, after a bit of hesitation, soon found their sea legs again and swam off together.
“It’s always a fantastic feeling to watch animals return to the wild but none more so when the animals in question are vulnerable species like these puffins. We know how tenuous the wild population is so it’s important to do everything we can to rehabilitate and release any that come in to our care.”
Susan Davies, CEO of the Scottish Seabird Centre said “We have a huge amount of respect for the work of the Scottish SPCA and were delighted our team could provide some advice to aid the safe release of these rehabilitated puffins.
“Many of our internationally important seabirds, including puffins, are in steep decline and so it was just great to see Don and Tony returning to sea.”
If anyone finds an animal in distress they should call the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.