UPDATE, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 9:25 a.m.: The Wild Bird Fund in New York City announced that the pink pigeon sadly passed away, after about a week in the organization's care.
"We are deeply sad to report that Flamingo, our sweet pink pigeon, has passed away," the Wild Bird Fund, who worked to rehabilitate the pigeon, tweeted on Tuesday night. "Despite our best efforts to reduce the fumes coming off the dye, while keeping him calm and stable, he died in the night. We believe his death was caused by inhaling the toxins."
PREVIOUSLY, as published Wednesday, Feb. 1: There are plenty of colorful pink birds out there — ever heard of the flamingo? But one bird that should not be pink is the New York city pigeon, which is typically blue or grey, with some purple and green details near the head.
So when someone discovered a neon pink pigeon roaming the streets of NYC this week, locals were pretty puzzled. The pigeon was clearly dyed the bright hue — but why?
Keep reading for the details on why this pigeon may have been dyed pink, how he is doing now, and what to do if you ever see a struggling pigeon or bird.
A dyed pink pigeon was found in NYC.
The Wild Bird Fund, the only wildlife rehabilitation center in New York City, shared the story of this pink pigeon on social media this week.
According to the organization, earlier in the week, someone came across this pink bird in Madison Square Park, located near the Flatiron District in Manhattan. The person rescued the bird, and brought him to the Wild Bird Fund's center on the Upper West Side.
"This is a domestic king pigeon who was deliberately dyed this color and released," the Wild Bird Fund wrote on Instagram on Tuesday.
"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 post continued. "He's also barely more than a fledgling but shows signs of longterm malnutrition."
Antonio Sanchez of the Wild Bird Fund stated that the bird, who was named Flamingo, should not be in the wild, since he is domesticated, and therefore relies on people for survival, as per ABC7. Additionally, the organization believes that the pigeon was likely dyed by humans, perhaps for "a gender reveal or an experiment."
"I don't think we've ever really had a pink pigeon come into the clinic, so we were all pretty surprised," Sanchez stated, via ABC7. "We were honestly disgusted that someone would do this."
The organization added that the pigeon has never flown before, and may have been bought at a poultry market, according to the news outlet. In New York City, there are about 80 live poultry markets, which pose a number of health and safety risks to the public.
Hopefully the bird will overcome his malnutrition and be safely rehomed. The Wild Bird Fund did not immediately respond to Green Matters' request for comment.
What to do if you find a domestic or struggling bird in the wild:
On its social media pages, the Wild Bird Fund also shared a PSA, announcing that people should never dye birds, and never release domestic birds into the wild. "They will starve or be preyed on, even many of those supposedly trained to return home," the post read.
The post also advised followers on what to do if they ever spot a bird in need of help.
"If you see an all-white pigeon in the wild, or any tame bird standing around looking lost, it needs your help," the Wild Bird fund wrote. "Please catch the bird and bring it to a pigeon rescue or animal sanctuary near you."
You can find a full guide to what to do in these situations on the Wild Bird Fund's website.