The pigeon forcibly dyed pink for an alleged gender reveal ritual has died, his handlers at the Wild Bird Fund announced Tuesday.
Flamingo the king pigeon passed in the care of the ornithological non-profit on Tuesday, after more than a week in the hospital’s care. The pink dye covering his body had emitted toxic fumes that jeopardized the bird’s delicate respiratory system, officials at the Wild Bird Fund said, leaving him in a state akin to “living inside a cloud.”
Despite the Wild Bird Fund’s best efforts to remove the dye, stabilize his vital systems, and keep him comfortable, he succumbed on Tuesday. The Wild Bird Fund suspects Flamingo’s cause of death to be inhalation of toxic fumes.
“We are deeply sad to report that Flamingo, our sweet pink pigeon, has passed away,” the Wild Bird Fund posted 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, barely older than a baby, was discovered in his pink plumage wandering around Madison Square Park on Jan. 30. Pink is not a natural color for his species, and his care team suspects he was a domesticated pet, unable to survive in the wild.
The Wild Bird Fund suspects that Flamingo was purposefully dyed pink as part of a gender reveal ritual — specifically the ceremonial releasing of doves — before being abandoned in the park.
“Domestic birds — birds raised in captivity — should never be released to the wild. They will die of starvation or predation,” the Bird Fund tweeted. “Please try to discourage others from releasing domestic birds for any reason.”
Once in the Wild Bird Fund’s care, veterinarians reported his condition as weak, after ingesting toxic, strongly malodorous fumes suspected to be from hair dye, which birds are particularly sensitive to, and possibly also taking it in while preening his feathers.
The Fund put Flamingo on heat, oxygen, and subcutaneous fluids, but struggled to remove the dye due to birds’ marked distaste for bathing. The bird was in a haze for much of his time at the hospital, unable to keep food down.
The NYPD did not respond to an inquiry for updates on the search for participants in the fatal gender reveal, a bizarre ritual that has also been blamed for causing wildfires, plane crashes, and various environmental concerns.
Following his demise, Flamingo’s vets urged the public to think twice before participating in made-for-Instagram dove releases, lest a similar tragedy befall another bird.
“‘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,” the non-profit wrote. “This is no way to celebrate anything.”