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Rooster and Hen Lead Park Workers on Chaotic Chase Uptown

By Carla Zanoni | October 10, 2011 6:42am | Updated on October 10, 2011 7:23am
A Park Ranger narrowly missed capturing a rooster in Fort Tryon Park.
A Park Ranger narrowly missed capturing a rooster in Fort Tryon Park.
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DNAinfo/Carla Zanoni

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Fort Tryon Park turned into a hen run Sunday as parks workers, helped by a passing MTA worker, ducked and dived in a comic effort to corral a rogue rooster and its hen.

The two Urban Park Rangers and an off-duty MTA conductor's scrambling ended with the chicken in a cage — but their efforts were evaded by the rooster, who's still on the lam.

“He’s crazy,” said one of the Rangers of the rooster, which flew into a ramble after being chased by the men with a net. “This is the third time we’ve tried to catch him, but he’s too fast.”

“It was like watching an episode of Roosters Gone Wild,” said MTA conductor Trevor Parkins of the bird that evaded the three men’s advances by ducking into tangles of bush and ivy before flying into the air.

Parkins, who lives in Brooklyn and works on the A train line, often walks through the park during his break time. On Sunday, he stumbled on the chaotic scene.

“The rooster was just like the one on Looney Tunes,” he said, referring to the classic rooster character called Foghorn Leghorn, a Southern gentleman who often got embroiled in mischievous schemes.

Parks officials said the hen would be transported to Animal Care and Control where she will stay until moved to a haven for rescued animals likely outside of the city.

Upper Manhattan is no stranger to urban wildlife and Fort Tryon Park is no exception. Birds of prey, skunk, deer and even coyote have been spotted in the park in past years. Steps away from where the wild rooster hid, a groundhog took in the action Sunday.

Park rangers say that roosters and chickens are commonly found in the parks and often take several attempts to capture.

“We got his wife, so who knows, maybe he’ll give up soon,” said one of the Park Rangers involved in the chase.  “We’ll be back.”

For weeks, locals have reported wild rooster sightings near the dog run in Fort Tryon Park. As dogs played in the field, a rooster’s cock-a-doddle-doo often sounded off in the woods.

Occasionally, the wattle-chinned fowl would saunter up the hill with his female companion.

Most locals said the birds seemed to be faring well in the park, but did worry about the birds' health as the weather turns colder.

Washington Heights resident Barbara Kennedy said she though the Parks Department was doing a good job in trying to round up and protect the birds, but hoped they would soon be reunited.

“They should be together,” she said. ‘They were only here for a few weeks, but in poultry life that’s practically an eternity.”