Newly Orange Seagull Rescued After Falling Into Vat Of Tikka Masala

"He smelled amazing."

10/06/2016 2:13 AM AEST | Updated 11/06/2016 12:35 AM AEST

We’ve all gone a little overboard in the pursuit of a good meal.

So we can relate to Gullfrazie, the hapless seagull who turned bright orange after falling into a large vat of chicken tikka masala in Wales on Monday.

Vale Wildlife Hospital/Press Association
Gullfrazie, this isn't your color. 

Gullfrazie was scavenging meat chunks out of a waste bin near a food factory. The factory hasn’t been identified, but workers rescued him and he’s now in the care of Vale Wildlife Hospital in Tewkesbury, England, the BBC reports.

He was uninjured, but he would have drowned in the thick liquid if no one had pulled him out, Lucy Kells, a veterinary nurse with the rescue center, told Wales Online. She said the vat was normally covered, but for some reason the lid was off that day.

The photo of orange Gullfrazie is grabbing many people’s attention, but it couldn’t capture the strong scent of tikka masala.

“The thing that shocked us most was the smell,” Kells told the Independent. “He smelled amazing, he smelled really good.”

And while cleaning the orange color out of his feathers was easy, that smell has lingered for several days. 

Vale Wildlife Hospital/Press Association
Gullfrazie, still smelling good after a thorough cleaning.

Gullfrazie is "feisty," Kells told The Huffington Post in an email, joking that he seems "ungrateful" for their help. 

Rescue center staff plans to keep him there until his feathers’ natural oils recover, after being somewhat depleted when they cleaned the sauce off. 

"We expect him to stay with us another couple of weeks," Kells said. " He is very thin, so we need to feed him up and get him stronger and then he needs time in an aviary to be able to preen and get his feathers waterproof and back in good condition."

Though some humans view seagulls as pests, the birds actually play an important role in the ecosystem. They help keep insect populations under control and consume organic waste, garbage and the decaying bodies of other animals. And while some people think it's kind of gross that seagulls wind up eating out of landfills, humans should probably consider who it was who created those landfills in the first place.

"They didn't create the throwaway society," wrote naturalist Stephen Moss in a Guardian column on seagulls. "We did, and they are simply reaping the benefits by grabbing a free lunch whenever they can."

This story has been updated with comments from Lucy Kells.

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