In an incident that an animal welfare organisation in Britain described as the “strangest casualty circumstances” it’s seen in some time, a bizarre-looking orange bird that was brought to its hospital for treatment turned out to be herring gull that had somehow wound up covered in either curry or turmeric.
Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital, based in Buckinghamshire - I swear I’m not making these names up - shared images of the bird to Facebook last week, writing that he was rescued by folks who spotted him on the side of the road. The organisation wrote that the coat of spices gave off a “pungent smell” and affected the bird’s ability to fly properly but added that it was otherwise healthy.
“Our veterinary team bravely bathed the gull (now named Vinny after a Vindaloo curry) to clean off his feathers. He managed to cover them in curry water, but eventually did let us scrub him clean,” the hospital said in the Facebook post. “He is now looking much better and should be able to go for release very soon!”
An additional photo shared by the hospital post-bath showed the bird mostly returned to normal, save a whisper of orange around the white feathers of his neck. Tiggywinkles did not immediately return a request for comment regarding the bird’s current status or when it will be released, but we’ll update this post if we hear back.
Despite the hospital’s uncertainty about exactly how Curry Bird landed in this dilemma, this isn’t the first or even second time a gull has wound up bathed in orange.
Multiple reports surfaced in 2016 about similar bird rescues. The first, in June, involved a bird rescued by the UK-based Vale Wildlife Hospital after the gull fell into a vat of chicken tikka masala while attempting to snatch a piece of chicken.
In a separate incident that occurred just two months later, the same hospital treated yet another gull that had fallen into a vat of tandoori sauce.
“We have no idea if it flew in because it was hungry or if he fell in by accident,” a spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told BBC at the time.
“He’s uninjured and just needed a good clean, but I expect he will be put off from curry after this.”