Doves Stranded and Dying in Park after Wedding
An Animal Rights Article from


New York Bird Club
July 2009

See video here.

More than two dozen doves apparently released during a wedding were left clinging to life in a New York City park.

A couple discovered the albino ringneck doves in Flushing Meadow Park in Queens over the weekend.

Rita McMahon of the Wild Bird Fund says such birds shouldn't be released. She says they usually haven't flown, are vulnerable to predators, don't know how to find food and can starve.

A feral white dove Photo by Matt Banks

The New York Post reported 45 birds were seen near the park at the start of the weekend, but by Monday afternoon only 25 birds remained. Some birds had been rescued by volunteers.

Of the remaining birds, a few had fallen to the ground during a Sunday rainstorm and were too weak to fly back up into the trees, according to the Post.

City animal welfare workers plan to check on the remaining birds. Mike Pastore, who work for the local Animal Care and Control Center, told the Post handlers would tend to sick birds and leave healthy ones where they are.

James Theurer, a Staten Island bird handler, says there are unscrupulous businessmen who buy doves at pet stores and release them at weddings.

Theurer says wedding birds should be homing pigeons that are trained to return to their coops. That's what his business uses.

George Axiotakis, one of the first to report the birds in the park, agreed the doves should be better protected.

"They're really clueless, and they don't know how to avoid predators," Axiotakis said to the Post. "This practice of letting them go at weddings is not cool."

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