How homing pigeons find their way?

How homing pigeons find their way?

What is their main point of reference and return home blind bird?


Meets Natalia Kostitsyna, C. b. D., associate Professor of the Department of vertebrate Zoology and ecology, Perm state University:

Pigeon post, for thousands of years. It was used even by Egyptian and Greek sailors long before our era. So they informed home of their arrival. It was used in the First world war, and secondly, mostly in intelligence. And in the course of the battle for Moscow-based Central nursery school the Association of dog and pigeon-breeding was a specially created pigeon communication station.

For the transmission of the letters were even bred a special breed of pigeons, who are particularly endurance and ability to navigate the terrain. But how do they find where to go? Figuratively speaking, “licks recipient”. To get a letter, it is necessary first to give the dove to the sender. Have these birds there is a “homing” — the innate ability to return to their nest, that is home.

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One of the main landmarks for the birds is the sun. Flying pigeons at an angle to the sun, making allowance for the time what they help the internal clock. If the sun is hidden behind clouds, can see polarized light. Some scientists suggest that birds can identify the geographical coordinates of the area, but it is not yet clear. Perhaps the height of the sun above the horizon, or the length of the shadow cast by objects.

But we know that find a way even a blind pigeon. In this case, it helps a good sense of smell, and they fly to the smell of familiar places. In addition, pigeons perceive the infrasound of 0.06 Hz, which corresponds to the sound of distant surf, and in modern conditions — railway, highway, etc. As well as the low sounds are propagated over long distances, the sound of passing cars may well serve as an auditory landmark from afar. When pigeons fly to familiar places, focus on internal map. Because the surroundings of the nest they remember in great detail.