For over 25 years Hessilhead has cared for Scotland's injured and orphaned wildlife, aiming to rescue, treat, rehabilitate and release birds and animals back to the wild



January 27th 2018

Meet Minty the juvenile pigeon.

Minty on arrival

Minty was found by Queen Street station in Glasgow, and picked up by Jan – a member of the SSPCA. At Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue, it is fairly common to get pigeons that have either fallen in tar, big vats of cooking oil or that have been stuck in ‘vandal paint’. Vandal paint is something used by pest control in most cities to combat the high number of pigeons that take to breeding and landing in ‘inappropriate places’. All the above have big negative impacts on feather condition. Oil breaks down the waterproofing properties of feathers, the stickiness makes the feather webbing glue together, all of which can be hard to wash off – and will impact flying. Minty was slightly different. Imagine a big tub of glacier mints melted together to form a big, clear, minty smelling glue-like substance. Which covered, his entire body including all his flight feathers.

Drying Minty

We first tried gently drying the glacier mint glue-like substance, to see if we could dry it up and then pick it off. No luck.

Next step we washed him with warm water and fairy liquid which is known to be the best at breaking down oil molecules in seabirds which have been affected by oil spills. No luck. We then resorted to using coop’s own hand wash – third time lucky!!!!! The mint like substance is slowly being removed from his feathers using the hand wash, and with regular preening by Minty himself hopefully it will all be gone very soon. We all enjoy coming into work and seeing Minty’s feathers fluffed up now, a great improvement from when he first got admitted to the centre.

Washing Minty














Fluffy Minty




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