Using animals for our own amusement is wrong, absolutely. So the sight of dyed pigeons first gives me a feeling of dismay. But hand feeding beautiful, sweet, hungry birds — the lure is too much for me.
A mixed flock of dyed Fantail Pigeons (a domestic breed) and Rock Doves hangs out in one of the Efteling‘s beautiful open areas. A vendor sells seed in small packages and I cannot resist.
From what I have been able to find out online, the birds are colored using pigeon-safe dye. They are all fully flighted, and mix freely with non-dyed pigeons as well as Jackdaws, House Sparrows, and even a Wood Pigeon or two.
The first time I saw the dyed birds was on my first visit to the Efteling back in 2000. On a much later visit, perhaps in 2008, the flock of pigeons was in the same place, but there were no dyed birds. I thought, Joy! They stopped dying them, but we can still feed them, now that’s some progress. I was surprised to see the dyed birds again on this latest visit, August 2010.
If you’ve ever seen dyed pigeons, or know more about the process, or even if you have an opinion about the practice you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.