A domestic pigeon that was dyed pink and then released into the wild died this week, possibly from inhaling toxins from the dye, a New York Wildlife Rescue Service said.
The king pigeon, nicknamed Flamingo, was found last week in Madison Square Park and donated to the Wild Bird Fund. In a tweet on Tuesday, the center announced that Flamingo had passed away.
“Despite our best efforts to reduce the fumes given off by the dye, while keeping him calm and stable, he died during the night. We believe his death was caused by inhaling the toxins,” said the Tweeter read.
The center said it believed the hair dye was most likely used to change the color of the pigeon. Workers tried several methods to remove the dye, but none worked.
The bird was malnourished when found in the park. He appeared to be a youngster and “had no survival skills”.
“Even without the added complication of the toxic dye, it would not have survived in a city park as a white, helpless bird,” the center said in its tweet, warning that the release of pet birds is dangerous. Domesticated birds released into the wild will die of starvation or predation, according to the Wild Bird Fund.
“‘Dove releases’ looks romantic, but take away the decorations and Instagram photos, and it’s like throwing your helpless pets on the side of the road. It’s no way to celebrate anything. either,” the center said. “Rest in peace, sweet bird.”
It is not known why the bird was dyed or who was responsible for it.