RSPCA Inspector Nina Small, who went to collect the pigeon, said:
“I’ve never seen anything like it in 15 years of this job.
He was covered in a pink, greasy paint-like substance from head to tail with only his eyes clear. And he was in a car wash of all places - perhaps he was trying to clean himself off!?
After a wash, his feathers were still stained pink. The amount of paint coming off his body was astonishing.
We can’t be sure whether the bird had been deliberately covered in paint or whether he’d fallen in something.
If someone has intentionally painted the pigeon’s feathers then I’d be very concerned for other birds and animals in the area. This is a cruel and unnecessary thing to do to an animal and could cause health problems, impair his ability to fly and make him more vulnerable to predators.”
Dyes and paints can be toxic to birds and animals and they are likely to try to clean the substances off of their coats or feathers, which would mean they swallow the substance and this can lead to the possibility of permanent damage.
Inspector Small added:
"Luckily this pigeon wasn’t injured and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to clean all of the paint off of his feathers and get him back to good condition so he can be released back into the wild where he belongs. I just hope his feathers haven’t been permanently damaged and that his flight won’t be affected, which could mean he will need to stay in care much longer before being released.
"If anyone has any information about how this pigeon ended up in such a state then I’d be keen to hear from them. You can get in touch by calling our appeal line on 0300 123 8018."
The pigeon’s feathers have been cleaned off and appears to be doing well.
If you spot an animal or bird in distress, call the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency hotline on 0300 1234 999 for advice or to request help from an officer.