Thought I’d share this article that was brought to my attention. I think the answer really is that the pigeon was deliberately dyed. Reading what the experts have to say on the subject, however, made me smile (especially when a man from the RSPB confirms that it is a pigeon. LOL). (I wrote about dyeing pigeons: Painted pigeons – is it right?)
- Cause of bird’s strange colouring remains a mystery
- Could have been dyed deliberately or changed due to its diet
By Sam Adams
PUBLISHED: 12:31, 10 August 2012 | UPDATED: 12:55, 10 August 2012
Is this pink pigeon a punk, or just pretending to be a flamingo?
They may be seen as pests by some, but this bizarre-looking pigeon has been earning admirers since it was first spotted in Ealing, west London.
The brightly-coloured bird, seemingly a white pigeon with large blotches of luminous pink on its feathers, has nevertheless left experts mystified.
‘Punk pigeon’: Experts are not sure what caused the bird’s pink colouring
Odd one out: The pigeon certainly stands out from the other birds
Colourful sight: The exotic-looking pigeon’s appearance has been welcomed in Ealing
Jean Moles, of Pitshanger Lane, Ealing, thought she was seeing things when she first laid eyes on the colourful bird perching on her neighbour’s roof last Saturday.
She said: ‘It sits on the flat roof next to my window. It’s pink with white streaks and a grey head. I’ve never seen one in my 74 years.
‘The Frenchman next door took a picture of it, he said he’d never seen anything like it either.
‘I feed the pigeons, I don’t care if the council don’t like it. This one appeared and it just fascinated me.’
An extremely rare species of pink pigeon – nesoenas mayeri – does exist but is native to Mauritius, thousands of miles away in the Indian Ocean. The telltale difference is its grey wings, absent in this bird.
Questions: It is not clear whether the pigeon was deliberately daubed in pink or whether its feathers were coloured accidently
Discovery: Jean Moles spotted the pink pigeon while feeding birds near her home in Ealing, west London
Bird expert Tim Webb from the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) confirms that it is a pigeon, but cannot be certain why or where the bird picked up its wild plumage.
Regularly eating foods with high levels of beta carotene and canthaxanthin – harmless natural food pigments – could change the colour of its feathers, he said.
Pink flamingoes get their colour from feeding on shrimp.
Alternatively, it could have been dyed deliberately by a bird keeper or accidentally splashed in a puddle of stained water.
A research group in Wormwood Scrubs recently dyed ring-necked parakeets purple to track their movements.
Mr Webb added: ‘Either way it’s a colourful addition to London’s wildlife – a punk pigeon to add to the records of the capital’s bizarre and unexpected category of natural attractions.’