Flamingo, the dyed pink pigeon, has died. The Wild Bird Fund, who rescued the king pigeon and attempted to remove the colouring from its feathers, said the bird died on Feb. 6, likely as a result of inhaling toxins from the dye.
“We hope the tale of his too-short life will help prevent more acts of careless cruelty,” the Wild Bird Fund wrote in a statement.
A domestic pigeon in New York City was left feeling “‘under the feather” after it was dyed pink and released into the wild last month.
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The wildlife rehabilitation and education centre Wild Bird Fund said the dyed pigeon was brought to its care after the bird was discovered in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park. On social media, the group wrote that the bird showed signs of long-term malnourishment and was unable to fly well.
“Pigeons come in many different colors and plumages, but pink isn’t one of them,” wrote the Wild Bird Fund.
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It claimed the pink pigeon has naturally white feathers. In an updated statement, the Wild Bird Fund said the pigeon has been endearingly nicknamed “Flamingo.”
The wildlife group said the bird, which is a domestic king pigeon fledgling, was “deliberately dyed” the fleshy pink colour with what the group believes is hair dye. The pigeon’s bright feathers make it more of a target for predators in the wild.
In a Twitter thread, the Wild Bird Fund said the pigeon may have been dyed for a gender reveal party.
A popular tradition in North America and elsewhere, gender reveal parties are thrown for expectant couples to share the biological sex of their soon-to-come baby.
The Wild Bird Fund said it has had “limited success” in trying to remove the dye from the bird’s feathers. The suspected hair dye has reportedly left a “very strong odor” on the animal, leaving caregivers worried for the bird’s respiratory health.
“Birds are highly sensitive to certain fumes, and this pigeon is essentially living inside a cloud,” it wrote. “We’re also concerned about him ingesting the chemical through preening. He’s currently quite weak and is struggling to keep food down.”
Flamingo is currently receiving heat, oxygen, subcutaneous fluids and medication to counteract any toxins in its digestive system.
“Please never release domestic birds to the wild. Not for weddings, funerals, celebrations, art projects, anything,” the group wrote. It added: “(We’d hope that ‘don’t dye them’ goes without saying, but…)”
The group has asked anyone concerned about Flamingo, or the other more than 7,500 sick, injured or orphaned animals the Wild Bird Fund rehabilitates yearly, to donate to its centre.