Animal rights activists are furious after discovering a bright pink pigeon in Madison Square Park on Monday. According to the city’s wildlife rehabilitation facility, the bird may have been colored for a gender reveal.
The Wild Bird Fund, New York City’s only wildlife rehabilitation and education center, shared the unexpected discovery on Twitter and a photo of the tiny fella. According to the group, the pigeon, which is little more than a fledgling, should be white.
“Pigeons come in many different colors, but pink isn’t one of them. Instead, this king pigeon was deliberately dyed and released,” the Wild Bird Fund tweeted. “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 Wild Bird Fund will attempt a few baths to remove the pink hue, but the pigeon will finally shed the painted feathers if that fails.
The bird, identified as a domestic king pigeon and in bad condition at the scene, was immediately taken to the Wild Bird Fund. The assumption is that the pigeon was obtained from a poultry market according to its species and bred for a safe life in captivity or consumption.
The organization responded on Twitter, saying the bird might have been used for a gender reveal. Given that this hotly contested ritual has contributed to California wildfires, explosions, and various other disastrous events, this avian tragedy is no surprise.
“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. “We were honestly disgusted that someone would do this.
The Wild Bird Fund also requested that people refrain from releasing domestic birds into the wild.
It’s unclear whether New York Police are investigating the case.