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(The Sun)   Science has finally figured out how homing pigeons are able to navigate so well: They cheat   ( divider line
    More: Amusing  
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28079 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Feb 2004 at 2:32 AM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

62 Comments     (+0 »)

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2004-02-05 12:49:29 AM  
They're small, yellow and speak in a unidentified squeeky language?
2004-02-05 01:08:09 AM  
MarkAndrew - Pigeons are Chinese?
2004-02-05 02:34:30 AM  
It must be hard to hitch hike without any thumbs.
2004-02-05 02:36:54 AM  
Do the male pigeons ever ask for directions?
2004-02-05 02:38:43 AM  
Follow British roads? Yeah right.
2004-02-05 02:39:06 AM  
Uhh to ask the obvious question (which the article fails to answer) I would like to know whether the pigeons at any time driven down those roads. Remembering where you have been and following roads as a landmark are two quite different things.
2004-02-05 02:39:08 AM  
If I could fly I wouldn't need to ask directions, either.
2004-02-05 02:42:44 AM  
2004-02-05 02:43:44 AM  
The birds go to Alchoholics Anonymous? I guess they drink like... birds.
2004-02-05 02:50:09 AM  
I love the (N.B. THIS STORY IS NOT A JOKE) at the end.
2004-02-05 02:52:18 AM  
Isn't this the same Sun that stole an article written by Farker rberry, and not only refused to apologize but went on to claim through a spokesperson that "there is no copyright on the Internet"?

Did the paper eventually apologize? If not, I don't understand why the Sun isn't on the same shiatlist with Ananova.
2004-02-05 02:54:02 AM  
No "here comes the science"!!!! Yay!!!!
2004-02-05 02:55:12 AM  
But do the female pigeons that work at the pigeon stops give good beak?
2004-02-05 02:55:18 AM  
Hah, bring an American pidgen over there and watch it fly on the wrong side of the road.
2004-02-05 02:58:30 AM  
farked already?
2004-02-05 02:59:48 AM  
Speaking of "borrowing" internet material

[image from too old to be available]
2004-02-05 03:09:16 AM  
Makes sense, I guess. I never use my internal compass when I'm out flying.

Besides, that map looks too much like a Mapquest query to me.
2004-02-05 03:21:21 AM  
Is that an African pigeon or a European pigeon?
2004-02-05 03:21:46 AM  
The real secret to flying?

Learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

2004-02-05 03:25:11 AM  
Hey, that kicks ass.

Nice photoshop EvilMidnightBomber.
2004-02-05 03:26:55 AM  
PlatinumDragon - Wasn't that The Star? (For all the difference between the two)
2004-02-05 03:33:12 AM  
i could have swore homing pigeons were extinct...
2004-02-05 03:36:38 AM  
the oob: thanks man, but no photoshop. That's the original that The Sun glommed off of. :)
2004-02-05 03:48:20 AM  

/family guy
2004-02-05 03:57:53 AM  
I wonder what happens when they hit a roundabout?
2004-02-05 04:00:27 AM  
when they compared the pigeons route to road maps the course followed main roads and roundabouts even if it went miles out of their way.

...Stupid Pigeons...

/angry farker
2004-02-05 04:08:47 AM  
[image from too old to be available]
2004-02-05 04:17:02 AM  
Does this mean that if an American pigeon went to England that it would get stuck flying in circles when it hits a roundabout?
2004-02-05 04:29:44 AM  
Of course, this leads to the question: are the pigeons following the roads, or were the roads designed based on the flight paths of pigeons which predated them?

Anywhere else, I wouldn't be able to believe this second possibility, but keep in mind who we're talking about. I mean, considering that Boston's roads were originally cow paths, I could believe that British roads may have once been pigeon paths...
2004-02-05 04:41:43 AM  
Frozen- unless the pigeon was from Cape Cod Mass. A roundabout every few hundred feet.
2004-02-05 04:57:03 AM  
So what the hell does "pexposed" mean, exactly? Someone please enlighten me.

2004-02-05 05:01:45 AM  
PlatinumDragon - Wasn't that The Star? (For all the difference between the two)

You're correct. #35 on retroCRUSH's most annoying things of 2003.

I am now consistently blowing basic facts. Time to take a vacation from work and recover... (offtopic rant coming) except I can't, because one of our best employees quit recently, and the management still hasn't set up interviews for a new sales sucker, which leaves the staff in an inflexible situation!

ARRRRRRGH! Maybe I should quit and force the matter while freeing myself from things like daily drudgery and paying rent.
2004-02-05 05:21:20 AM  
Thats a load of bollox, homing pigeons can travel thousands of miles over oceans and over land with no distinguishing features, when I was a kid I had a pet pigeon Declan (see pic below) *sniff* whom I would release regularly, theres no farking way he was following the roads, the one time he actually did use the road he landed on it and was smushed about 15 seconds later in front of my then tender 14 year old eyes *WAAAH!!!!!*

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Declan!
[image from too old to be available]
Declan R.I.P.
2004-02-05 05:28:16 AM  
The story seems to be legitimate, other sources are reporting the same story and seem to have talked to the professor who has in fact written numerous scholarly (that is, boring) articles on pigeons for over ten years. He is definitely involved in attaching GPS devices to pigeons and tracking their migratory patterns.

Pigeons definitely *can* navigate without following landmarks, they definitely do so over water. However, it isn't totally unreasonable that they navigate by means of fixed landmarks when such landmarks exist.

Birds learn migratory paths by being lead on those paths by older birds. How they remember those paths could simply be by whatever way is easiest. One would expect it to be redundant however, since land features do change.
2004-02-05 05:43:13 AM  
Is the Sun going to start adding (N.B. THIS STORY IS NOT A JOKE) beneath every story they print, or just the ones that are true?
2004-02-05 06:12:39 AM  
Very cool. I suppose it's no different than the pigeon following a river. They both look the same from way up there.
2004-02-05 06:24:39 AM  
Here's more of the same.
2004-02-05 07:13:36 AM  
We didn't receive any orders, and Captain Blackadder definitely did not eat this delicious, plump breasted pigeon.
2004-02-05 07:14:18 AM  
Cormee, the Flanders Pigeon Murderer.
2004-02-05 07:30:27 AM  
I guess all us country folk will have to come up with new estimates for distance to other rural places.

/as the bird flies
2004-02-05 07:31:55 AM  

That joke was about as funny as this one isn't.
2004-02-05 07:47:17 AM  
It's got nothing to do with direction...

It's easier to crap on cars if you fly over roads. And if you get tired you can always rest on a powerline for a bit.
2004-02-05 08:36:40 AM  
I can't believe I'm the Weeners this:

[image from too old to be available]
2004-02-05 08:37:14 AM  
Argh, filtered. :(
2004-02-05 08:44:54 AM  
But, if you pick up a pigeon, you'll find a lever under their left wing that will open them up, and inside, you'll find a mouse working the levers. They pick up trash.

/sifl and olly
2004-02-05 09:04:05 AM
2004-02-05 09:26:43 AM  

I have a very hard time believing this. Perhaps this article is best left unpublished by The Sun?
2004-02-05 09:39:25 AM  
I wonder if other birds such as crows use the same technique. If so the phrase "It's 10 miles, as the crow flies," actually refers to the road distance...
2004-02-05 09:57:26 AM  
"i could have swore homing pigeons were extinct..."

And you would be wrong. That would be passenger pigeons that are extinct.
2004-02-05 10:08:51 AM  
So if you have a girlfriend and she can't follow the roads...

Does that make her dumber than the pigeons?

/thought so...
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