Facts About the Pigeon
- Pigeons are incredibly complex and intelligent animals. They are one of only a small number of species to pass the ‘mirror test’ – a test of self recognition. They can also recognise each letter of the human alphabet, differentiate between photographs, and even distinguish different humans within a photograph.
- Some pigeons can pass the mirror test after training in the prerequisite behaviors. In 1981, American psychologist B. F. Skinner found that pigeons are capable of passing a highly modified mirror test after extensive training. In the experiment, a pigeon was trained to look in a mirror to find a response key behind it, which the pigeon then turned to peck to obtain food. Thus, the pigeon learned to use a mirror to find critical elements of its environment. Next, the pigeon was trained to peck at dots placed on its feathers; food was, again, the consequence of touching the dot. The latter training was accomplished in the absence of the mirror. The final test was placing a small bib on the pigeon—enough to cover a dot placed on its lower belly. A control period without the mirror present yielded no pecking at the dot. When the mirror was revealed, the pigeon became active, looked in the mirror and then tried to peck on the dot under the bib. However, untrained pigeons have never passed the mirror test.
- Pigeons are renowned for their outstanding navigational abilities. They use a range of skills, such as using the sun as a guide and an internal ‘magnetic compass’. A study at Oxford University found that they will also use landmarks as signposts and will travel along man-made roads and motorways, even changing direction at junctions.
- Pigeons are highly sociable animals. They will often be seen in flocks of 20-30 birds.
- Pigeons mate for life, and tend to raise two chicks at the same time.
- Both female and male pigeons share responsibility of caring for and raising young. Both sexes take turn incubating the eggs and both feed the chicks ‘pigeon milk’ – a special secretion from the lining of the crop which both sexes produce.
- Pigeons have excellent hearing abilities. They can detect sounds at far lower frequencies than humans are able to, and can thus hear distant storms and volcanoes.
- Despite the social perception as dirty and disease-ridden, pigeons are actually very clean animals and there is very little evidence to suggest that they are significant transmitters of disease.
- Pigeons and humans have lived in close proximity for thousands of years. The first recordings of this date back to Mesopotamis, modern Iraq, in 3000bc.
- Although pigeon droppings are seen by some as a problem in modern society, a few centuries ago pigeon guano was seen as extremely valuable. It was viewed as the best available fertiliser and armed guards would even stand by dovecotes (pigeon houses) to stop others taking the droppings.
- Pigeons can fly at altitudes up to and beyond 6000 feet, and at an average speed of 77.6 mph. The fastest recorded speed is 92.5 mph.
- Pigeons are fed by many members of different religions including Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs for spiritual reasons. Some older Sikhs will ceremoniously feed them in honour of Guru Gobind Singh, a high priest who was renowned as a friend to pigeons.
About Pigeon Patrol:
Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.
Contact us at 1- 877– 4– NO-BIRD, (604) 585-9279 or visit our website at www.pigeonpatrol.ca
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