Phoenix-Like Bird Found In Britain Is Actually Just A Seagull

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Last week, residents of Buckinghamshire, England, encountered a bird with an unusually flamboyant orange coat. 

Despite appearances, it was not a species of exotic bird (or, indeed, a phoenix). It was your bog-standard, run-of-the-mill, nothing-to-see-here common gull – only it was stained in bright yellow curry, or turmeric, and this unusual costume was rendering it flightless. 

The good news is that the bird is now in safe hands thanks to members of the public who saw him at the side of the highway and called a nearby animal rescue center.

Aside from smelling quite pungent, the gull was healthy when he arrived at the center, say staff at Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in a Facebook post. And after a very thorough bath, he returned to his usual snow-colored hue. 

"He is now looking much better and should be able to go for release very soon!" the post reads. "As we say, we never know what will come through our doors next!"

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The vets have named the gull Vinny – a tribute to his (previously) yellow coat and a reference to vindaloo curry, a bestseller in Britain's curry houses. 

The legend of the Phoenix dates at least as far back as Ancient Egypt. According to Britannica, the lifespan of a Phoenix was said to be 500 years or more. As it approached its end, the bird fashioned for itself a nest of aromatic boughs. It would set the nest on fire and allow itself to be consumed by the flames. Ellerslie/Shutterstock

Yet, the mystery of how exactly Vinny got himself covered in bright yellow spice mix remains unsolved. Perhaps he was trying out one of this season's top color trends: yellow. Pantone did, after all, list turmeric on their spring/summer 2019 New York Fashion Week color palette, calling it "an enlivening orange that infuses a hint of pungency into the palette." 

Or maybe he fell into a waste tub of curry during a scavenging mission outside a food processing plant – an unfortunate scenario that befell another gull (since nicknamed "Gullfrezi") back in 2016.  

Unfortunately, we will probably never know.

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