The mystery of the tye-dyed pigeons

A few peculiar-looking pigeons were spotted by a photographer. Speculation was that they may be a cross with parrot. But the explanation is likely more human-related.

Experts Agree: Parrot-Pigeon “Hybrids” Probably Just Dyed Pigeons: Gothamist.

Last weekend some mysterious pigeon-parrot hybrids were spotted in Queens, but experts now tell us these are just your garden variety rock pigeons with some colorful dye applied. Next they’ll tell us this isn’t a photo of Anthony Weiner astride a pegasus! Below are theories and thoughts from a birder, a pigeon fancier, and the NYC Audubon.

New York City birder Yojimbot tells us the pigeon “has been dyed… impossible to say with what but I’m guessing some vegetable based dye, because anything else would affect the flight of the bird. I’ve heard of similar things in Europe and India for religious ceremonies.”

There are conflicting theories whether dying the birds’ feathers is harmless or not. Pigeon farmer Onorio Catenacci says it does not cause any physical harm to the birds themselves but Tod Winston from NYC Audubon says dying of the feathers can be harmful to the birds as they might ingest the paint when they clean themselves. No word on who might have done this or for what prupose. The feathers will eventually molt and be replaced.

Photo credit: bytegirl's flickr

Photo credit: bytegirl’s flickr

  2 comments for “The mystery of the tye-dyed pigeons

  1. March 14, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    It would be a pigeon-fancier who dyed the feathers and the reason is to make them less appetizing to predator birds. I saw some pink pigeons in Toronto (Ont.) last year and was taking pics of them for a paper I was writing for when the owner came along. I asked him how they got that way and he explained that hawks and other predator birds regard the coloured pigeons as diseased so won’t attack them. I guess it’s similar to the “camouflage” that Brad Pitt used to save humanity against the zombie hordes in “World War Z”!

  2. Brian
    March 16, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    Reading the article- how much of a stretch is it to have a European or Indian event somewhere near by? There ARE various ethnic neighborhoods in NYC…

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