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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Adam Gabbatt

Pink pigeon found in New York was ‘probably dyed for gender reveal party’

A pigeon flies past the skyline of lower Manhattan.
‘Pigeons come in many different colours and plumages but pink isn’t one of them,’ Wild Bird Fund said. Photograph: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

A pink-plumaged pigeon rescued from a New York City park may have been dyed for a gender reveal party, a wildlife group said.

The king pigeon was found wandering Madison Square Park in Manhattan and was taken into care, the Wild Bird Fund said.

The group told ABC7 News the bird may have been dyed pink, not a natural colour for a pigeon, to take part in an elaborate gender reveal – ceremonies by which couples learn or reveal the gender of their expected baby.

“Pigeons come in many different colours and plumages but pink isn’t one of them,” Wild Bird Fund said. “This is a domestic king pigeon who was deliberately dyed this color and released.

“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 pigeon was suffering from long-term malnutrition, the Wild Bird Fund said. The group named the pigeon Flamingo, a nod to the brightly coloured wading birds found in wet habitats in the Caribbean, South America, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

“PSA: Please never release domestic birds to the wild. Not for weddings, funerals, celebrations, art projects, anything,” Wild Bird Fund said.

“They will starve or be preyed on. If you see an all-white pigeon in the wild, or any tame bird standing around looking lost, it needs your help. Please catch the bird and bring it to a pigeon rescue or animal sanctuary near you.”

The king pigeon is “deemed to be one of the most beautiful of all the pigeon breeds”, according to the ornithology website Beauty of Birds.

The birds “are incredibly charismatic, smart, sweet (and/or sassy)”, Beauty of Birds says. “They love life and they want to live.”

In September last year, an animal rescue charity in New Jersey said it had taken in a passel of pigeons which had been dyed pink and released for a gender reveal party.

“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,” Freedom Farm Animal Rescue said.

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