Secret of homing pigeons revealed

The secret of carrier pigeons' uncanny ability to find their way home has been discovered by British scientists: the feathered navigators follow the roads just like we do.

    Pigeons fly along motorways, turn at junctions and even go around roundabouts

    Researchers at Oxford University spent 10 years studying homing pigeons using global positioning satellite (GPS) and were stunned to find the birds often do not navigate by taking a bearing from the sun.

    Instead, they fly along motorways, turn at junctions and even go around roundabouts, adding miles to their journeys, British newspapers reported on Thursday.

    "It really has knocked our research team sideways," Professor Tim Guilford said in the Daily Telegraph. 

    "It is striking to see the pigeons fly straight down the A34 Oxford bypass, and then sharply curve off at the traffic lights
    before curving off again at the roundabout," he said in The Times.

    Guilford said pigeons use their own navigational system when doing long-distance trips or when a bird does a journey for the first time.

    But when they have flown a journey more than once they home in on a habitual route home.

    "In short it looks like it is mentally easier for a bird to fly down a road... they are just making their journey as simple as possible."

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months