Listen

News 88.9 KNPR
Classical 89.7 KCNV

member station

NPR
The Two-Way

Curious Orange: Gull Gets Dyed After Diving Into Vat Of Tikka Masala

481460332_1979648848.jpg

A seagull got a day-glo makeover when he fell into a vat of chicken tikka masala in Wales. He was taken to a wildlife hospital that says the bird will be fine.
Vale Wildlife Center
A seagull got a day-glo makeover when he fell into a vat of chicken tikka masala in Wales. He was taken to a wildlife hospital that says the bird will be fine.

A wildlife hospital in Britain had no trouble spotting — or smelling — this patient. After all, the seagull had doused itself in a vat of chicken tikka masala. After an exam, two findings emerged: the bird would be fine, and "boy did he smell good!"

That's the description given by Lucy Kells, a veterinary nurse at the Vale Wildlife Hospital near Tewkesbury, who chronicled the bird's recovery on Facebook.

Speaking to Wales Online — the bird was found "at an undisclosed curry factory in Wales," the site says, before being brought to the animal hospital — Kells says the bright-orange gull sparked a range of strong feelings, from sympathy and concern to hunger pangs.

The consensus about how this day-glo gull came to be, Kells says, is that he was picking out pieces of chicken and fell into a vat — which was outside and, for some reason, had been left uncovered.

"He would normally have been able to take off from water but the curry was too thick and gloopy," she says.

Luckily for all involved, the bird hadn't been soaking in the sauce for long before he was rescued. But while the Vale hospital says the cleanup was fairly easy, the gull will have to remain a captive for long enough to allow his feathers to regain the natural oils they lost in the cleaning process.

Support comes from

When we asked for an update on the gull, Vale founder Caroline Gould wrote back to say, "the gull will be released once his feathers are waterproof." She added that the bird is now back to his normal color and should be fine when he's released.

Chicken tikka masala is a wildly popular dish in Britain. We'll remind you that former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook once dubbed it "a true British national dish" — and that was back in 2001. Since then, there's been no indication that the Brits have gone off the (delightfully spicy) sauce.

In all, the folks at Vale Wildlife seem to have taken this unusual rescue in stride – something we might attribute to the organization's roots in (sauce alert!) Worcestershire. Or perhaps it's due to the more than 4,000 cases the charity now handles each year, according to Gould's figures.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for.  If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.