Belfast police may be no closer to solving the age-old riddle of why the chicken crossed the road, but they are trying to help one wandering bird find its way home.
On Monday afternoon, Sgt. Dan Fitzpatrick of the Belfast Police Department shared a photo of a snow-white hen with a bright-red wattle and comb on Facebook, in hopes that her owner would turn up.
“This gal was out for a walk at some point,” he wrote on the post. “My best guess is she is anxious to return to [her] flock but with all the new snow is now lost.”
A couple saw the bird near Waldo Avenue and called their granddaughter, who let the police know that there was a loose chicken. Fitzpatrick, who has 33 chickens and guinea hens of his own, went to catch her at about noon and brought her in to the station. It’s a task he’s performed before with a variety of animals.
“Chickens, goats, horses,” he said. “You name it.”
The bird, which he believes to be a leghorn, looks a bit thin and has a touch of frostbite on the top of her comb. Frostbite is not uncommon with birds in the wintertime, Fitzpatrick said.
Although her picture was shared more than 250 times in just a couple of hours, no one called to claim her. As well, he checked with chicken owners who live close to where she was found to see if they were missing a hen, but they all reported their birds were fully accounted for.
And so by late afternoon, the sergeant was on his way home with a feathery hitchhiker on the backseat of his car. He thought it would be a better temporary home for the bird than locked in a dog cage in the police station.
“She’s a good passenger so far,” he said. “She seems to enjoy the car ride and country music.”
And if her owner doesn’t call to claim her, Fitzpatrick said that she can join his family’s flock for good.
“I’ll take her and see if she fits in with my girls,” he said. “My chickens are free range, though, so hopefully she will stick around.”
To claim the wayward chicken, call 207-338-2040.