Disturbing theory behind starving neon pink pigeon found in city park

Internet sleuths believe the bird may be the victim of a gender reveal party.

Internet sleuths have shared disturbing theories online after a neon pink pigeon was found malnourished in a New York City park on Monday.

Close to 1000 people have reacted to a picture of the bird on Facebook, shared by the city’s only wildlife rehabilitation and rescue centre Wild Bird Fund.

Among the more than 150 comments, many have proposed the bird was dyed and released as part of a gender reveal — a stunt where expecting parents release blue or pink objects aligned with their baby’s sex. Others have hypothesised the bird may have been released during a wedding ceremony.

Two images of the bright pink pigeon in care. A human hand can be seen holding it.
A bright pink pigeon was discovered starving in a New York City park. Source: Phyllis Tseng/Alexis Ayala/Wild Bird Fund

No matter what the reason for the bird’s predicament, New Yorkers are furious. “Some people can be so cruel and evil it’s beyond my understanding,” one person said. What disgusting person would be so mean to do this to a bird,“ someone else added. “Terrible abuse!,” another person exclaimed.

While feral flocks of pigeons usually congregate around Madison Square Park, the lost bird was identified as a king pigeon — a usually white domestic breed.

Why pigeon now struggling for survival

The bird was rescued by a Good Samaritan and taken to Wild Bird Fund. Spokesperson Catherine Quayle told Yahoo News Australia the bird was likely raised inside and had no ability to survive in the wild. “We would guess that either someone thought it was funny, it was an art project, or it was a gender reveal party,” she said.

A couple using pink smoke to reveal their baby's gender.
During gender reveals, expecting parents release blue or pink objects or smoke aligned with their baby’s sex. Source: Getty (File)

While the parents of the newborn girl are no doubt delighted, the bird is fighting for its survival. The dye gives off a very strong perfume smell and rescuers are now concerned about its respiratory health.

Parrots also dyed pink and blue in Australia

It’s not the first time rescuers have discovered pink birds in New York, however usually they’re just marked rather than dyed. If these domestic pigeons aren’t rescued, they would be picked off by a hawk, or eventually starve to death.

In Australia, small numbers of native birds are regularly photographed dyed blue, pink and sometimes yellow. It’s unclear who is behind the awful acts.

In 2020, brightly coloured cockatoos were photographed in the southern NSW suburb of Bundeena. Two years later, a group with blue markings on their backs were seen 90 minutes south in Mittagong.

In NSW, all native birds are protected by the state’s Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and penalties apply for harming them.

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