A rooster which captured a community's heart when he took up residence on an urban island has left just as much mystery with his disappearance.
The glossy blue and black rooster turned heads when he appeared in mid-October and proudly took up residence on a grass verge and line of bushes between the railway line and Oxford St.
Neighbours and passersby began looking forward to spotting the rooster and many began feeding him, while families came to see him.
The rooster earned admiration after he was seen to send a neighbourhood cat sprinting back across the road as well as out- smarting children armed with sticks.
But locals say he has not been seen since shortly before Christmas.
An anonymous caller contacted the Hutt News to report the rooster's absence and appeal for public information.
"I drive past every day and I'd usually look out and see him and he'd more than likely be on the grass verge pecking away.
"I'm sure he was entertainment for a lot of people, so my initial thoughts were I hope nothing bad's happened - we don't want to think of Christmas dinner."
Several other neighbours also voiced concern, saying they missed seeing what the feathered resident was up to, and would like to know what had happened to him.
While some speculated over possible demises, others said they were convinced the rooster had landed on his feet.
Kingi Morgan said he had seen a woman feeding the rooster who he thought was trying to trap him in a bag. He later saw her return with a wire cage, though he didn't see the outcome.
"I think she was trying to do the right thing, to take it to the SPCA but he'd found the perfect place to live there.
"Maybe he's now happily living in the Wairarapa with a dozen hens."
Hutt City Council environmental inspection manager John Pepper said no complaints were made to council about the rooster and while he had been keeping an eye on him, the council had not removed it from the spot.
Wellington SPCA spokesman James Craw said no roosters came to their attention in December or January.
SPCA staff would only try to catch a chicken or other bird if it was sick, injured or in immediate danger, he said.
Do you know what happened? If so, please call the Hutt News on 589 7625 or email karoline. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hutt News