A person in a blue shirt holds a rescued pigeon that has been dyed completely pink.

This domestic bird was found in a park in New York City.
Phyllis Tseng/Wild Bird Fund

The rescue of an eye-catching pink pigeon in New York City’s Madison Square Park is highlighting the bad behavior of some humans. Wild Bird Fund, a nonprofit bird rescue organization, took the king pigeon into its care and issued a request over social media this week asking the public not to dye birds and not to release domesticated birds into the wild. 

King pigeons are different from your usual urban feral pigeon that likes to hang out around statues and eat scraps left by humans. King pigeons are domesticated birds that aren’t prepared to survive on their own. “This poor bird has it bad enough as a domestic bird unable to find food in the wild, fly well or escape predators, but being a bright, unusual color makes him even more of a target,” Wild Bird Fund said.

The group said the bird is barely more than a fledgling but was showing signs of long-term malnutrition. The bird’s natural color is white. On Twitter, Wild Bird Fund said it’s going to try a few baths to remove the pink color, but that he should eventually molt the feathers and return to his normal look.

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“Please never release domestic birds to the wild,” Wild Bird Fund said in a PSA on Facebook. “Not for weddings, funerals, celebrations, art projects, anything. (We’d hope that ‘don’t dye them’ goes without saying, but…) They will starve or be preyed on.”

While the bird’s origin remains unknown, internet commenters are suggesting it may have been part of a gender reveal party with the pink signifying a girl. Come on, humanity, you can do better.

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