Stanley Park's stray rooster struts to fame in bird boots
'He just showed up one day' and high-stepped his way into the park staffs' hearts'
Ricky the mysterious rooster just showed up one day in Vancouver's Stanley Park.
Since then he's strutted his way into park staff's hearts.
He hangs out near the horse barn, and members of the Vancouver Police mounted unit are familiar with his high-stepping antics.
Recently, he was outfitted by park staff with some handmade Birdy Booties — to help relieve his pain from a condition called bumblefoot, an inflammatory condition and perhaps a little arthritis, say his caretakers who were relieved the beloved bird did not have cancer.
"He loves his booties ... I think I'm anthropomorphizing a bit but when he first got them he ran around the yard. I think he was trying to show them off." said Sheena Urquhart, an apprentice horticulturalist.
When Ricky is in the mood he will hop up on a bench and march across laps.
"He's a total lap rooster," said Urquhart.
Ricky is not the first rooster abandoned at the park over the years.
But he's the first with his own Instagram account (@Ricky_the_Chicky) and a lot of ardent fans.
"He's our mascot," said Brian Quinn, manager of Destination Parks.
Nobody knows why Ricky was left in the park, but Quinn suspects it's because of his gender.
Female chickens never show up stray — just roosters — perhaps dropped by people who have chickens and don't want the rooster fertilizing the eggs, he said.
For whatever reason, Ricky ended up alone in a lush park paradise.
"I've actually only seen him run by. I just have a real blurry picture of him running, " said Krystal Kobelka who often works in the barn.
"He just showed up one day. He was kind of in the forest and everyone could hear him. So they just scooped him up and made a little pen for him to kind of keep him safe," she said.
Ricky hangs out with the gardeners the most, standing "in their little circle" in the mornings, she said.
He's a fixture, foot swellings and all.