English, Fake News

2013 image of a pigeon sitting on a patient is being shared with a false narrative


An image is being shared on social media claiming it as the visuals of a pigeon sitting on his abandoned old friend in the hospital. This post claim that the old patient in the photo was admitted to the hospital for three days, but his family members never came to see him. The post claims that a pigeon, who the old man used to feed in a nearby park, has visited the hospital every two days to see him. According to the post, this image was purportedly taken by a nurse in the hospital. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.

The archived version of the post can be seen here.

Claim: Photo of a pigeon visiting his abandoned old friend in the hospital.

Fact: The photo shared in the post is real. But, the narrative of this photo is not true. This image was taken at a hospital in Greece. This photo was shot by Flickr user named Ioannis Protonotarios, on 19 October 2013. Protonotarios’ father and the old patient in the photo were sharing the same hospital room while this photo was captured. There is no evidence to say that the old man’s family never came to see him or that he fed this pigeon at a nearby park. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.

On reverse image search of the photo shared in the post, a similar photo was found published on the ‘Flickr image sharing website. This image was posted by Ioannis Protonotarios on 19 October 2013. According to the information provided on the ‘Flickr’ website, this image was captured at a hospital in Athens, Greece.

‘The Quint’ news website contacted Ioannis Protonotarios to get more details of this photo. In a brief interaction with ‘The Quint’, Ioannis Protonotarios revealed that the image was taken on 19 October 2013 at the Cardiology Ward of Red Cross Hospital of Athens, Greece. Protonotarios told that his father was sharing the hospital room with the man in the photo. “As I was sitting next to my father’s bed I noticed this bird that was sitting atop of this man who was asleep. It was sitting there for quite a while so I took a picture”, Ioannis Protonotarios told ‘The Quint’. After this incident, Protonotarios’ father was moved to the intensive care unit and he had never seen the man or the bird again.  The clarification issued by Ioannis Protonotarios can be found in the fact-check article published by ‘The Quint’.

Ioannis Protonotarios revealed more details of this incident in an interview with the ‘Lead Stories’ website. ‘Lead Stories’ reported these interview details in an article published on 27 January 2021. From all these pieces of evidence, it can be concluded that the image shared in the post was not taken by a hospital nurse. Also, there is no evidence to prove that the old man’s family has never come to see him or that he fed this pigeon at a nearby park.

To sum it up, 2013 photo of a pigeon sitting on an old patient is being shared now with a false narrative.


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