A cockatiel dumped in a rubbish bag in a Cwmbran street was moments away from being crushed to death in a refuse dustcart.
Dusty was discovered in a bin bag
Bin man Andy Jones ripped open the bag after his fellow worker George heard its squawks amongst a pile of bags on their Friday morning round.
Still in his cage, the distressed caged cockatiel, nicknamed Dusty by Torfaen council staff, was put in the heated cab of the wagon and taken back to the depot.
"One of the boys heard the bird, when I picked up the bag I couldn't believe it," said Mr Jones.
"I just thought 'how cruel'. It was more shaken than anything.
"A few moments later it would been dead," he added.
Andy Jones is being called a hero
Mr Jones, 34, said the grey bird could have easily perished because of the noise of the dustcart.
If Dusty had been dumped in a noisy street, the cries could have easily gone unheard, he said.
The bin men think the bird may have sitting in its cage for three hours as rubbish has to be out by 0730GMT.
"We have seen all sorts out on the round, dogs or cats coming out of bins - but never this," said Mr Jones, who owns a dog.
"When we took the cockatiel back to the office, people were calling me a hero.
"But I would have done what anyone else would have," he said.
Dusty, who is being cared for at the RSPCA Newport Animal Centre, has already got two offers of homes from Torfaen council staff.
But the male cockatiel will stay at the centre for the time being so he can be cared for and while investigations are ongoing.
Dusty, which has yellow feathers on its face, was left food in its cage but no water.
RSPCA Inspector Nic de Celis is appealing to anyone who has any information to come forward.
"It is shocking and unnecessary for anyone to abandon any animal in such a callous way.
"If the workman hadn't looked inside the bin bag, the cage would have undoubtedly been compacted down and the cockateil would have been trapped in the lorry or even crushed to death.
"The story highlights the throwaway attitude our society sadly has today.
"Some people taken on animals and don't realise the commitment that they are making," he added.
Anyone with any information is being urged to contact the RSPCA, in strictest confidence, on 0870 555 999.