Cathy Horvath said she’s seen a lot of “weird things” in the 25 years she’s been rescuing birds, but almost nothing as odd as the two pigeons that were recently brought to her home.
Two white pigeons with their plumage dyed bright pink and dark purple came into Horvath’s care on Friday.
“At first I was like, ‘What is this?’” she said. “I had no idea what I was looking at.”
Horvath, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in Massapequa, said one of the pigeons was found about 2 p.m. Friday by a woman who caught the colorful bird on the sidewalk near the Massapequa train station. She said the other bird was brought to her from Queens earlier that day and it had puncture wounds on its throat. It died that night from its injuries, she said.
Horvath believes both pigeons recovered Friday were intentionally colored with hair dye or food coloring. She said she’s heard of people coloring birds for weddings or ceremonies, but has never seen it done.
The birds both have bands around their legs, which would indicate that they’re captive, she said.
In 2008, Horvath treated another purple pigeon, also found in Queens, but she thought that bird became covered in paint accidentally.
Gary Rogers, a spokesman for the Nassau County SPCA, said coloring pigeons is “uncommon.” Rogers wasn’t aware of the pigeons brought to Horvath but he said he planned to contact her about them.
According to Rogers, it would only be criminal to dye a bird’s feathers if it caused the bird to “suffer unjustifiably.” He said he would need to consult a veterinarian in order to determine if the bird was harmed.