August 12, 2009
Dying Doves Rescued from NYC Park
Two weeks ago, dozens of White Ringneck doves took up residence in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, NY. Although no one has come forward, the most likely explanation for the sudden appearance of these non-native birds is that they were released during a local wedding.
Unlike their pigeon relatives, White Ringneck doves are heavily domesticated birds who are unable to care for themselvesso rather than enjoying their newfound freedom, the 40 to 45 doves were attacked by larger birds and dogs, bombarded by rain, and suffered from starvation, hypothermia and infections. Happily, about half of the flock has been captured and is receiving veterinary care, while rescuers continue to search for those still remaining in the park.
“There is a common misconception that doves are just white pigeons, and that they’ll be fine out there in the world,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. “As this case has illustrated, nothing could be further from the truth. While I would hope that those responsible for releasing these doves in Queens didn’t know any better, at least this episode can serve as a lesson to make responsible decisions when involving live animals in an event.”
Setting doves loose isn’t the only popular, animal-related festivity faux pas. Releasing balloons can also endanger many species of wildlife, particularly birds and aquatic animals such as turtles, whales and fish. Animals often ingest deflated balloons, which can cause choking or gastrointestinal blockage, and can become entangled in the attached ribbons and string.
For more information about celebrating safely with animals, please visit our seasonal and holiday tips online.
Do you Twitter? Use this hashtag to tweet on this article: @aspca and #RescuedDoves