As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday 27 April 2014

Explainer: How Do Homing Pigeons Navigate?

By Tim Guilford, University of Oxford | April 26, 2014 02:10am ET

This article was originally published at The Conversation.The publication contributed the article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Pigeons have extraordinary navigational abilities. Take a pigeon from its loft and let it go somewhere it has never been before and it will, after circling in the sky for while, head home. This remarkable capacity extends to places tens even hundreds of kilometres from its home and is all the more remarkable to humans because we are apparently incapable of it ourselves.

But we have long made use of the pigeon’s homing ability, principally for carrying messages in the past. And for several decades now the pigeon has played centre stage in scientists’ attempts to understand the map and compass mechanisms fundamental to bird navigation.

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