The Mysteries of Pigeon Navigation – Radiolab Podcast

Pigeons are amazing. We still do not know how they manage to navigate home. Sight? Smells? Magnetic fields? All of the above?

This Radiolab podcast: Bird’s-Eye View, includes the story of a pigeon war hero who saved a town and it also explores the variety of experiments scientists have conducted to try to decode this navigational mystery – including putting blinding contact lenses in their eyes, strapping magnetic coils to their heads and transporting them inside smell-controlled boxes.

I wondered what the current state of research is on pigeon navigation and I found a report in the New Scientist about embedding devices in the brain of a pigeon that can record the electrical impulses in the pigeon’s brain at the same time as it records the GPS location. What the researches found is that the pigeon’s brain activity spiked up when they passed over landmarks like highways and coastlines.

Dubbed the Neurologger, this gadget simultaneously captures brain activity and GPS location of homing pigeons as they navigate over land and sea (Image: Alexei Vyssotski, University of Zurich)


1 Comment

Filed under Biology

One response to “The Mysteries of Pigeon Navigation – Radiolab Podcast

  1. Pingback: A TBE SHORT: Designing for ducks & pigeon amputees « THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s