John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
It does not help the health of birds to paint them orange.
What kind of person sees a wild creature and thinks, That could really use a fresh coat of paint?
A Floridian, it appears, because the state’s denizens keep touching up hapless animals like Bob Vila run amok. First it was people decorating turtles with paint and nail polish, making them fun-looking while also harming their respiratory systems, blocking their vitamin uptake, and marking them as easy meals for predators.
Now there’s this poor Boca Raton bird that somebody managed to cover with what looks like orange spray paint:
Some more photos from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
“Please keep your paint on the canvas and off of wildlife,” writes the commission in what should’ve been an extremely unnecessary PSA. “White ibis are protected in Florida. Not only is it illegal to paint them, but it is cruel to paint any wildlife.”
The bird is now living in a wildlife sanctuary while experts try to remove the paint, which can destroy its natural waterproofing and cause it to heat up dangerously in the sun, among other health problems. As to how it came to be painted, one person on Facebook notes ibis are “very docile” birds that could be snatched by a quick-handed miscreant. Another speculates it might be “just really stupid people, trying to see if the same bird is in their yard. Still inexcusable.”