A seagull with bright yellow plumage spotted in Scarborough proved not to be a rare migrant - but a victim of hooligans.
Concerned holidaymakers alerted Scarborough Sea Life Centre to the stricken bird who sent aquarist Andy Jayes to investigate.
After trapping the unfortunate bird near Scarborough Lifeboat Station, Andy discovered it had been covered in yellow paint.
RSPCA Inspector Geoff Edmunds, who collected what proved – underneath the paint-job – to be a herring gull, speculated it may have been the victim of a prank linked to the Tour de France.
“We know there were sheep spray-painted with washable yellow paint to mark the visit of the Tour de France,” said Sea Life’s Lia Bull.
“It’s likely someone thought it was a clever idea to paint a seagull as well.”
Though still able to fly short-distances, the gull would inevitably have died as a result of the damage to its plumage, but is now recuperating at a specialist RSPCA wildlife centre in Cheshire.
“We hear he’s eating hungrily and that the paint is coming off gradually,” said Lia.