A pink-feathered pigeon found in a New York park may have been dyed for a “gender reveal” party, experts have said.
The king pigeon, which is never naturally pink, was rescued from Madison Square Park in Manhattan. According to the Wild Bird Fund, who facilitated the rescue, the male bird was “deliberately dyed and released.” Due to the fact that the pigeon had been bred for domestic purposes, he was also ill-equipped to survive in the wild.
“Pigeons come in many different colours and plumages but pink isn’t one of them,” a spokesperson said. Speaking to ABC7 News, they added: “This poor bird has it bad enough as a domestic bird unable to find food in the wild, fly well or escape predators, but being a bright, unusual color makes him even more of a target.”
The bird was picked up by a passerby, and was later discovered to be suffering from long-term malnutrition. The group has confirmed that the pigeon, who they called Flamingo, is now “safely in care.”
Speaking to Plant Based News (PBN) after the rescue, Wild Bird Fund confirmed that the bird had stress bars on his feathers, meaning he was likely purchased from a poultry market. Experts also said the bird was “little more than a baby,” and had likely never flown.
What will happen to the pigeon?
While the bird is now in care, it is not known what long-term effect the dye could have on him.
Wild Bird Fund told PBN that, while the dyed feathers would eventually molt out, the fumes from the dye could present a problem.
“We are concerned about the harmful effects of the strong odor/fumes coming off the dye in the meantime. Birds are very sensitive to fumes,” a spokesperson said.
The bird is currently in the care of the organization. If he does recover, he will be sent to a sanctuary.
Animals abused for gender reveal parties
Some prospective parents choose to host “gender reveal parties,” which see them announce the sex of the soon-to-be arrival.
Such parties have sparked controversy in the past, due to elaborate, and sometimes dangerous and cruel, reveal methods.
In September 2022, Freedom Farm Animal Rescue in New Jersey confirmed it had taken in a number of pigeons dyed pink for gender reveal parties.
“Animals are not props or decorations,” the organization said on Instagram. “These domestic young white pigeons don’t have a clue how to survive out in the wild and would’ve been picked off by predators had they not been saved.”