Pigeon That Was Dyed Pink Doesn't Make It

Animal rehab group believes toxins in pink dye killed 'Flamingo'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2023 9:15 AM CST
Updated Feb 8, 2023 11:58 AM CST
UPDATE Feb 8, 2023 11:58 AM CST

A pink pigeon found in Manhattan last week has died, apparently from the toxins in the dye that was used on it. "We don't know why this bird was dyed pink, although many of our followers have speculated that it was for a gender reveal party," Catherine Quayle of the Wild Bird Fund tells NPR. The animal rehab group was "overwhelmed by messages of concern and goodwill for this poor bird," which had been dubbed Flamingo, she says. The WBF urged people not to release domestic birds as part of celebrations. "Take away the decorations and Instagram photos, and they are the equivalent of dumping your helpless pets on the side of the road," the group said. "This is no way to celebrate anything."

Feb 2, 2023 9:15 AM CST

Gender reveal events have peeved environmentalists, led to a plane crash, and even turned deadly. Now, it looks like one out of New York City may be behind an incident that's enraging animal-rights advocates. On Monday, the Wild Bird Fund, a bird rehabilitation nonprofit, posted a photo of a pastel-pink king pigeon on Twitter, noting the fairly obvious: "Pigeons come in many different colors, but pink isn't one of them." The group reported that the bird, found in Madison Square Park in Manhattan, had been "deliberately dyed" and also appeared to be malnourished, per PIX11.

And while the WBF didn't initially remark on why it thought the bird had been dyed, a commenter's question of "Who does this?" prompted the group to speculate that the dyeing may have been part of a gender reveal. "Horrible," one outraged observer wrote in response. The group, which says it rehabilitates more than 7,500 sick, hurt, and orphaned animals annually, also noted that the pigeon appeared to be a domestic bird that someone had sent back out into the wild—another big no-no, per the BBC.

Birds in those situations will "die of starvation or predation," the group warns. In better news, this particular pigeon, which is usually white, is now said to be safe and in good care. The WBF says that after it's given a few baths, the bird may be able to shed its current set of feathers and regrow new ones in its natural color. (This gender reveal had people concerned for a hippo named Tank.)

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