View Full Version : Pigeons fly VFR!

6th Feb 2004, 00:52
From BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3460977.stm) .

Homing pigeons are finding their way around Britain by following roads and railways, zoologists claim.
They say the birds' natural magnetic and solar compasses are often less important than their knowledge of human transport routes.
A 10 year Oxford University study discovered some pigeons turn off at certain motorway junctions and use landmarks to remember where they are.

6th Feb 2004, 01:24
Yup, it would seem those cheating little feathered :mad: actually follow roads when 'homing', or so a new BBC documentary would have us believe. So much for all this clever rubbish about internal GPS systems.

Wondered why they were all buying AA road atlases.

6th Feb 2004, 01:32
"They don't follow linear lines all the time . . . " Errrm - what other kind of lines are there ?

Bern Oulli
6th Feb 2004, 02:12
IFR = I Follow Roads (or Railways).

Onan the Clumsy
6th Feb 2004, 03:03
Ok let's start this thread again shall we? :E

Linear lines are a subset of lines the way squares are a subset of rectangles are a subset of parallelograms are a subset of quadrilaterals etc. And that's just considering 2 dimensions and real (not imaginary) space. :8

6th Feb 2004, 03:18
This is not news. Our head of R&D has already incorporated this capability. The Starling's is even better. ;)

Standard Starling Ones will include equipment for VFR...

See the complete thread here Genetics in Aviation (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=115875)

6th Feb 2004, 03:32
Reminds me a bit of that pigeon who was reported to take the tube in London. Would wait patiently on the platform, get on when the doors opened, wait by the doors as several stations went by and then got off at his stop. Supposedly true. For birdbrains they can be pretty smart.

6th Feb 2004, 03:46
Do people actually get paid to undertake these studies? Talk about a waste of money. Wouldn't we be better served studing the impact of lap dances on men suffering from erectile dysfunction or peripheral spotting of well endowed women while walking down the street.

Onan the Clumsy
6th Feb 2004, 03:48
Rollingthunder I think you're mistaking that with the story about the dog that would take public transport all across London. He was the original Red Bus Rover.

6th Feb 2004, 03:50
Sign me up, it would be an added pleasure to be recompensed for
"peripheral spotting of well endowed women while walking down the street". :D

6th Feb 2004, 03:51
There was a section on it in The Times a while back, I think, and many people reported seeing pigeons use the tube

6th Feb 2004, 03:58
About a year ago, a pair of pigeons hopped onto the Circle Line at Aldgate, stayed by the door and alighted with purpose at the next stop, which was Tower Hill. How did they know the platform for Tower Hill was on the same side of the carriage as that for Aldgate?
Sabiha Foster
(30 September 1995)


DURING 1974-76, I regularly encountered a single pigeon of light reddish colouring boarding the underground at Paddington and disembarking at the next station. Could it be the same bird that Robson saw--perhaps now having graduated to a senior citizen's pass? Or has the habit been passed on to the next
generation? If the latter, is there a genetic component in this?
Jim Brock
(30 September 1995)

A PIGEON, calm as you please, hopped into my Northern Line carriage at King's Cross and stood quite calmly near the door. The tourists did the cooing, not the pigeon; they thought it was an added London attraction and tried to tempt it with crisps, but, unusually, the bird wasn't interested. It appeared to know where it was going and as soon as the doors opened at Euston, it flew out.

The second occasion was during a Piccadilly Line journey to Heathrow three weekends ago. This time the pigeon waddled in at an overground station, Hounslow Central. A bird-phobic passenger shooed it out, whereupon it repeatedly walked back in, to be hustled out again every time. The bird appeared quite determined to make its journey and when it was shooed out for a final time, just before the doors closed, it made one final frantic swoop towards the door, rather in the manner in which some human passengers launch themselves at tube doors just before they close.

"I saw one once get on at Gunnersbury. When the train pulled in at Stamford Brook, the pigeon waddled over to the door, and looked expectantly at it. Since there was no one on the other side, a woman got up and opened the door for the bird, which flew off...

I got the distinct impression that that pigeon had done that journey before..."
Adrian Vickers

6th Feb 2004, 04:39
Anyone interested in backing my latest idea? The idea struck me out of the blue while reading this thread:

For a cheap and environmentally-friendly "Get You home Gps" or GYG, pronounced "GiGi", for all car-owners who don't want to fork out astronomic sums for something which they will never be able to use properly anyway without a 2 year post-graduate course at JPL. P-ppp-ick up a pigeon, more precisely your Airship GYG pack. Get it home and follow instructions. In 4 weeks, your GYG will be ready to accompany you on all trips that take you away to those unfamiliar places where the locals may not be very helpful or there is a language barrier... In case of emergency, GYG will ensure you get home safely by simply following the indicators on the supplied illuminated dashboard display: green arrow for a right turn, red arrow for a left turn.


6th Feb 2004, 05:23
Interestingly, a design from during and after WW2 used pigeons as a way of guiding missiles, link here Pigeon missiles! (http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m3161/24_47/57843983/p1/article.jhtml)

6th Feb 2004, 05:58
Very interesting link Dead_Heading :ok:

Of course, today we would only need a DNA sample to assure reproduction and further improvement of selected pigeon capabilities. Which were obviously lethal to the pigeons participating back in 1959. :sad: Today the R&D use simulators! ;)

Anthony Carn
6th Feb 2004, 14:50
Have any pigeons managed to get to Mornington Crescent ? :ooh: