Pigeon dyed pink found in New York City, believed to be for gender reveal party

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — An American rescue group is trying to save the life of a domesticated pigeon that was found dyed pink and struggling to live.

The bird who is barely five weeks old has been described as practically a baby and has probably never flown before.

The Wild Bird Fund based in New York City found the animal in Madison Square Park and shared a photo of the bird on social media and posted: “Pigeons come in many different colours and plumages, but pink isn’t one of them.”

The pink bird is a king pigeon, which is a domesticated animal and what feral pigeons normally found in the streets of NYC are descended from.

The WBF, a nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation and education centre in NYC, believes the pigeon may have been dyed pink for a gender reveal party.

Gender reveal parties are a tradition in the US, where expectant couples throw a party to announce the sex of their child.

These parties have grown increasingly popular and elaborate, with usually pink or blue smoke, confetti or balloons to symbolise the soon-to-be-born child’s biological sex.

After giving the pigeon, now named Flamingo, time to stabilise, the WBF team tried several methods to remove the dye, which they believe is hair dye, with limited success.

One of the main concerns is the bird ingesting the chemical through preening.

The team explained that the dye smelled like very strong perfume and because Flamingo is inhaling these fumes that are coming off of the dye all the time, it makes it ill as it was continuously throwing up.

One of their followers on Facebook, a cosmetologist, pointed out that hair colour shouldn’t leave a strong smell for days.

“Some may take more shampoos to dissipate but still aren’t that strong. With a couple of shampoos, he should have been odour-free. I’d be looking at a different dyeing agent, not that it really matters for the little guy,” said Jesse Frite.

In its latest update, the team posted: “We’ve got Flamingo on heat, oxygen and subcutaneous fluids, and we’ve added medication to counteract the effects of the toxin on his digestive system. Bathing is very stressful for a bird, especially one already weak, so we have to balance intervention with overall stability.”

They pleaded to the public never to release domestic birds or other domestic animals to the wild.

“They have no survival instincts and will starve or be preyed on. Dove releases in all forms are cruel. Please celebrate your life events peacefully without harming others.”

Catherine Quayle, the social media director of the Wild Bird Fund, says the fact Flamingo is domesticated is the main issue, reported Today.com.

“He’s a domestic bird that was released to the wild and he cannot survive because he has no survival instincts,” she explained.

“Typically (king pigeons) are all white. And so even if he had not been dyed, he would have been a real target for predators in the park.”

In addition to admonishing people to not dye animals, Quayle stated people should avoid using live animals in their ceremonies and celebrations.

“Birds should not be used as art projects or as decoration or in any kind of celebration. They are animals that have specific needs,” she says, adding that many services that market a pigeon or dove release do not actually train their birds to return home to their roosts.”

“It is sad and I think most of the people who do that — if they knew what they were doing, and they knew that the birds had no chance of survival, they wouldn’t do it.

“We’re hoping that the interest in this story will get that message out a little bit.”