This summer, pink pigeon sightings have been causing quite a stir in the United Kingdom. The usually plain birds have been seen sporting rosy pink feathers from Bristol to Northumberland. And as more and more people spotted the pigeons, they looked to social media for answers on where the curiously different birds originated.
One theory was that the birds were dyed for an event, such as a wedding. Others stated the color came from a diet of pink food. Some speculated that the pigeons were of the species Nesoenas mayeri, a naturally pink pigeon. But the Nesoenas mayeri is native to Mauritius, a small island off Madagascar. It is also an endangered species, so for the rare birds to travel more than 6,000 miles would be highly unlikely.
But the mystery of the pink feathered birds may now be solved. The Bristol Post reported that an Eastville, Bristol man admitted to dying the birds. Sher Singh, 39, keeps around 100 pigeons, and noted that sometimes after he lets them out, the birds return injured. The experienced pigeon keeper said he used pink fabric dye on the pigeons to ward off and confuse predators such as falcons.
According to Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) spokesperson Calie Rydings, using dye on birds can also be harmful if they ingest the dye. Once it was brought to his attention that coloring the birds could be dangerous to their health, Singh agreed to stop using fabric dye on the birds.
In the United States, it is also illegal in many states to use dye on baby chicks, ducks and rabbits, as it is considered unnecessary and cruel.