A sad update to a shocking animal abuse story from last week: Flamingo, the pigeon who dyed pink apparently as part of a gender reveal stunt, has passed away.
“We are deeply sad to report that Flamingo, our sweet pink pigeon, has passed away,” Wild Bird Fund wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Flamingo, a domestic king pigeon, was found by a good samaritan in Madison Square Park in Manhattan. The bird was in poor shape, and was brought to the nonprofit Wild Bird Fund.
The pigeon had been dyed completely pink with artificial hair dye. It’s not clear who did it or for what reason, but the prevailing theory is that the bird was dyed pink as part of a gender reveal.
“I don’t think we’ve ever really had a pink pigeon come into the clinic, so we were all pretty surprised,” Antonio Sanchez of the Wild Bird Fund told ABC 7 New York. “We were honestly disgusted that someone would do this.”
It’s also believed that the pigeon was purchased at a poultry market. He should have never been released, as he is not equipped to survive in the wild.
“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 group wrote on Twitter.
Wild Bird Fund did everything they could to care for the bird, but expressed concerns about his health. They were unable to remove the dye, and the fumes were causing respiratory problems.
“One problem is that the dye has a strong odor, and we’re concerned for the bird’s respiratory health,” the group explained. “Birds are very sensitive to certain fumes, and this one is essentially living inside a cloud. We’re also concerned about him ingesting the chemical through preening. His condition is weak, and he’s struggling to keep food down.”
Despite their best efforts, Flamingo couldn’t pull through, and passed away days later.
“Thank you to everyone for the expressions of goodwill and the many helpful suggestions,” Wild Bird Fund shared on Twitter. “Flamingo’s story sparked a lot of emotion and generated interest from around the world. We hope the tale of his too-short life will help prevent more acts of careless cruelty.”
It should be common sense not to dye a bird pink for something as senseless as a gender reveal stunt, and it was the toxic dye that caused health complications Flamingo just couldn’t overcome.
But the group also hopes his story will be a reminder to people not to release domestic birds in the wild. Flamingo was unequipped to survive on his own and would have died if not found, even without the pink dye.
“Domestic birds — birds raised in captivity — should never be released to the wild,” Wild Bird Fund wrote. “They will die of starvation or predation.”
That includes once-common practices like dove releases at weddings: “They are the equivalent of dumping your helpless pets on the side of the road. This is no way to celebrate anything.”
Flamingo’s story captivated so many people, and while he died so tragically and senselessly, hopefully the publicity will leave an impact and make the world safer for other birds like him.
“Rest in peace, sweet bird,” Wild Bird Fund wrote.
Rest in peace, Flamingo — we hope you’re at peace now, and wherever you are we hope you’re back to your true colors 🤍
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