A domestic pigeon that was dyed pink and then released into the wild died this week, possibly from inhaling toxins from the dye, a New York City wildlife rescue service said.
The king pigeon, nicknamed Flamingo, was found last week at Madison Square Park and turned over to the Wild Bird Fund. In a tweet Tuesday, the center announced that Flamingo had died.
"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," the tweet read.
The center said it believes hair dye was most likely used to change the pigeon's color. Workers tried several methods to remove the dye but none worked.
The bird was malnourished when it was found at the park. It appeared to be a fledgling and "had no survival skills."
"Even without the added complication of the toxic dye, he would not have survived in a city park as a white, helpless bird," the center said in its tweet, warning that releasing domestic birds is dangerous. Domestic birds released to the wild will die of starvation or predation, according to the Wild Bird Fund.
"'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 center said. "Rest in peace, sweet bird."
It's not clear why the bird was dyed or who is responsible for doing it.