Good Samaritans help pigeon out of sticky situation

Frank the pigeon has a new lease on life thanks to a couple of eagle-eyed animal lovers who spotted him stuck to an industrial dumpster outside a shopping mall in St. John's.

St. John's couple rescue glue-covered bird from dumpster

Michaela Rose and Peter Price rescued Frank the pigeon after they found him stuck to a dumpster. They believe he came into contact with a glue trap, which are primarily used to catch mice and insects. (Facebook)

Frank the pigeon has a new lease on life thanks to a couple of eagle-eyed animal lovers who spotted him stuck to an industrial dumpster outside a mall in St. John's.

Michaela Rose and her partner Peter Price were at the Village Shopping Centre on Sept. 25 when they noticed a pigeon on the sidewalk scurrying under a garbage container. When they took a closer look, they realized the bird was in big trouble. 

"He was glued together, head to toe, all the feathers were just stuck together," said Rose.

Hobby farmers Michaela Rose and Peter Price with their St. Bernard, Solomon, goats Andy and Percy, and Harriet the chicken. They also have a couple of cats. (Submitted by Michaela Rose)

"It was pathetic … he was stuck to the side of a garbage bin … we couldn't just leave him."

So, Rose and Price brought the bird home, named him Frank, and began the process of figuring out how to remove the glue from his feathers and body.

How do you unstick a pigeon?

They weren't able to get much advice locally, but eventually they stumbled across a pigeon rehab clinic run out of a private home in Pennsylvania. 

They got step-by-step instructions on how to deal with Frank's gummed-up feathers, which involved using a car-care product, dishwashing liquid, and a lot of patience.

Frank was released in Bowring Park in St. John's after seven weeks of recuperation. (Facebook)

"For a very short period of time you soak them in Armor All with cloths — we were very shocked to hear that — and then you have to use oil to get the Armor All off, and then use Dawn to get the oil off," explained Rose. 

"And their feathers are delicate, so you can't do this very frequently, so we had to do a few washes."

Colourful plastic bands were tied to Frank's leg so he could be identified and monitored after his release. (Facebook)

Frank recuperated in the bedroom of the couple's St. John's home for about seven weeks, feasting on bird seed and veggies in a fish tank repurposed to fit his needs. 

After getting the all-clear from a veterinarian, he was released Nov. 12 near a flock of pigeons at the side of the duck pond in Bowring Park.

Bird watching

Because not all of his down feathers have grown back, Rose is hoping others in the area will help keep an eye on him throughout the winter. 

So, if you spot a "fat, dark and handsome pigeon with a red, a yellow and a green zip tie tag on his leg," Rose would love an update on social media with the hashtag #frankthepigeon or #findpigeonfrank.

She has created Twitter and Facebook accounts to help track his progress.

With files from the St. John's Morning Show