A malnourished pigeon that had been dyed bright pink for a suspected gender reveal party has been rescued in New York.
The pink-plumed king pigeon was discovered in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park and showed signs of long-term malnutrition despite being barely more than a fledgling.
It was rescued and taken to the Wild Bird fund, a nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation and education centre in the city, for treatment.
The centre said the king pigeon, which it has named Flamingo, was “deliberately dyed and released” as part of a suspected gender reveal party.
The bird was likely completely immersed in the dye, which goes right up to its eyes.
As a domestic bird, the king pigeon was “unable to find food in the wild, fly well or escape predators”, the Wild Bird fund said.
Gender reveal parties are an increasingly popular way for expectant parents to theatrically announce the sex of their baby to family and friends.
It is not the first reported case of dyed pigeons being used at such a party. A number of pink pigeons were recovered in a similar incident in New Jersey last year.
‘Pigeons come in many colours, but pink isn’t one of them
The wildlife centre said: “Pigeons come in many different colours, but pink isn’t one of them. This king pigeon was deliberately dyed and released.
“As a domestic bird unable to find food in the wild, fly well or escape predators, this poor kid had it bad enough before being dyed.”
The centre also mooted the possibility that the bird was used as a prop in a wedding.
The incident prompted it to publicly warn New Yorkers: “Please never release domestic birds to the wild. Not for weddings, funerals, celebrations, art projects, anything.”
The centre added: “We’d hope that ‘don’t dye them’ goes without saying, but…”
It urged anyone who found an all-white pigeon, or any odd-coloured bird, to catch it and contact their local rescue organisation.
Staff at the centre hope that after a few baths, Flamingo may return to its natural white plumage. Eventually, he should moult his pink feathers.
King pigeons are a domestic breed primarily developed over many years of selective breeding.
It is classed as “one of the most beautiful of all the pigeon breeds”, according to the website Beauty of Birds.