AT first glance it may seem like a tropical bird escaped from an exotic pet store but look again because this is a common pigeon that has been painted neon pink.
The shocking pink flier was spotted by Solihull Summer Fest organiser Ian Rogers on Thursday afternoon outside Café Nero on Solihull High Street.
Mr. Rogers told the Observer:
“It’s not every day you see a pink pigeon whilst walking down the high street, I checked around to make sure Candid Camera wasn’t making a comeback.”
The mystery bird sparked plenty of fascination, as well as speculation as Solihull shoppers stopped to take photos of the hot pink bird and get a closer look.
“It was very amusing seeing people stop and look equally confused!
“Would have made a great ad campaign for Funkypigeon.com.”
As to why the bird was such an extraordinary colour, one theory is that it was in fact a very rare natural pink pigeon called Nesoenas mayeri, an endangered species which is thought to have only 500 birds left in the wild.
However, local bird enthusiast George Bourne disagreed saying:
“Yes there are pigeons that are pinkish in colour but they don’t look anything like this bird plus they’re only found in Mauritius which is quite a long way away from Solihull!”
Bird expert Philip Andrews at West Midlands Birding Facebook group agreed confirming Solihull’s pink pigeon must have been painted the shocking colour.
As to why someone would want to paint a pigeon pink, Mr. Andrews explained:
“Sometimes pigeon fanciers paint their birds pink in an attempt to avoid the attentions of predators such as Peregrine Falcons in the belief that they can’t pick up the pink hues. Opinions are mixed as to whether it is effective or not.
“Some birds are also dyed pink for use at weddings or in magician shows.”
A spokesperson for the RSPCA condemned the behaviour saying:
“We’re concerned by the possibility that someone may have intentionally painted the pigeon’s feathers. This is very worrying as it could cause health problems, impair their ability to fly and make them more vulnerable to predators.
“Dye and paints can be toxic to birds and other animals, and they would be likely to try to clean any such substance from their coat or feathers which could result in them swallowing it.
“If you spot any animal in distress, please call the RSPCA’s emergency rescue line on 0300 1234 999 for further advice or assistance.”