By Tui Benjamin
A sweary New Zealand animal lover has shot to viral fame after his attempt to rescue an injured seagull went hilariously wrong.
Robert Tahau, from Whakatane, Bay of Plenty, copped a painful pecking after he found the bird on the side of the road with a fish hook stuck in its throat last month.
The kind-hearted dad-of-seven wrapped the seagull in a t-shirt and brought it into his truck to give it food before planning to take it to the vet the next day.
But when the 50-year-old attempted to film a video to tell his Facebook followers about his feathered friend’s ordeal, the bird began to repeatedly and violently peck his face.
Robert’s hilariously expletive-ridden reaction has since racked up more than one million views across social media, making the unwitting quarry worker an unlikely social media star.
Robert, who works as a dump truck and excavator operator in Te Puke, said: “It was just a normal Friday afternoon, about an hour before knock-off.
“I was just cruising along when I spotted this white thing at the side of the road, I thought it was a piece of pumice rock, then it moved – that’s when I realised it was a bird.
“I was trying to help it, and initially thought something was wrong with its wing.
“He was all fine when I got back to the truck at first, but he started pecking almost straight away, I could see in the video he was eying me up as I was talking to the camera.
“When he pecked me it f***ing hurt alright – enough to make me swear like that, anyway.
“The last time he pecked me he made me drop my phone, he got me right behind the ear.
“I love animals and thought by rescuing him I would give him a bit of freedom and help him – it hasn’t put me off wanting to rescue animals in future.”
Because nearby veterinary centres were closed, Robert left the bird in a box with soggy bread and worms overnight but it refused to eat.
But sadly the next morning the animal was dead and he discovered a fish hook stuck in its throat which he believes caused it to starve.
In his hilarious slapstick clip, Robert attempts to restrain the bird under his arm while filming the video but struggles to maintain his composure when it repeatedly pecks him.
His potty mouth eventually gets the better of him and he launches into an expletive-ridden rant each time he is hurt by the animal.
But Robert insisted he had no idea when he first shared the Facebook live video it would receive such an extraordinary viral response.
The 50-year-old added: “When the video started going so viral I thought I better give him a proper funeral so I dug a hole and wrapped him up in a bit of cloth and put him down there.”