People all over the world, not just in New York City, hoped that Flamingo, the young king pigeon that had been dyed bright pink with chemicals and then set free in the wild, would be okay.
The Wild Bird Fund rescue group said on Tuesday that Flamingo died about a week after he was found in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park by a rescuer.
Catherine Quayle, social media director of the Wild Bird Fund told NPR –
“We don’t know why this bird was dyed pink, although many of our followers have speculated that it was for a gender reveal party,”
“We believe his death was caused by inhaling the toxins” from suspected hair dye, the group said, adding that birds are highly sensitive to some fumes.
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The group said that Flamingo was weak and underfed and that he also had trouble keeping food down. This could be because he ate chemicals while preening his pink feathers.
The group also reminded people not to use domestic animals as props in their celebrations by saying, “They have no survival instincts and will starve or be preyed on.”
The group said –
“‘Dove releases’ sound romantic, but take away the decorations and Instagram photos, and they are the equivalent of dumping your helpless pets on the side of the road.”
“This is no way to celebrate anything.”
The Wild Bird Fund is based in New York City’s Upper West Side, where it helps birds and other animals that have been hurt, gotten sick or lost their parents. Quayle said that every year, it gets dozens of king pigeons, which are white birds that people keep as pets.
Turning to Flamingo’s case, she added –
“King pigeons are naturally all-white, although we occasionally receive one with a small amount of dye or paint. This situation was a first.”
“We have been overwhelmed by messages of concern and goodwill for this poor bird,” Quayle said praising the compassion of people in New York and beyond who have shared messages of support.
Quayle said –
“As sad as we are that Flamingo did not get the chance to live a full life in a sanctuary or home, we’re heartened that his story has reached so many around the world.”
“We hope fewer birds will suffer from careless cruelty as a result.”