Scientists have recruited pigeons to help stop climate change

Scientists have recruited pigeons to help stop climate change

Pigeons have become the latest recruits in helping researchers gather data on climate change. Scientists at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. have developed a tiny set of sensors resembling a small backpack that can be strapped onto the back of pigeons. These little sensors help researchers collect data on urban microclimates ??? the fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and winds that can have major effects on living in major cities. So where do the pigeons come from? The group works with local volunteers who raise homing pigeons. Known for their abilities to return to their nest, homing pigeons have been used as far back as Ghengis Khan to carry messages across long distances. Using homing pigeons means that the researchers are sure to get their instruments back and can download the information before sending the birds on their way to collect more data. The design of the backpack conceived to keep the safety and comfort of the birds in mind. Each weighs less than 3 percent of the pigeon???s body weight, which is the standard for bird tracking devices. Thomas???s wife sewed each backpack, going through several versions until they found the perfect fit. ???If [the pigeon owners] are not happy with any aspect of putting the sensors on their back, then they don???t have to fly their birds,??? explains Rick Thomas, the research fellow who leads the study. ???The welfare of the birds is utterly paramount.??? Thomas also pointed out several good reasons to use birds rather than something like drone technology. For one, drones are not allowed to fly freely in any area, particularly after the trouble a drone caused at Gatwick airport in December. Secondly, different technology would not be as cost effective as what???s possible with the pigeons. Thus far, the group???s band of pigeons have logged over 620 miles with their backpacks over the course of 41 flights. The hopes are that the climate data can be used by scientists to help them predict how pollution

Pigeons are helping researchers gather data on climate change. (University of Birmingham/Cover Images)

Jeff Parsons – Monday 25 Mar 2019 2:15 pm

Pigeons have become the latest recruits in helping researchers gather data on climate change.

Scientists at the University of Birmingham have developed a tiny set of sensors resembling a small backpack that can be strapped onto the back of homing pigeons. These little sensors help researchers collect data on urban microclimates, including fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and winds that can have major effects on living in major cities.

The pigeons themselves come from local volunteers that raise them and who agree to work with the scientists. Pigeons are helping researchers gather data on climate change.

Known for their abilities to return to their nest, homing pigeons have been used as far back as Ghengis Khan to carry messages across long distances. Using homing pigeons means that the researchers are sure to get their instruments back and can download the information before sending the birds on their way to collect more data.

The design of the backpack conceived to keep the safety and comfort of the birds in mind. Each weighs less than 3% of the pigeon’s body weight, which is the standard for bird tracking devices. Sensors in the backpacks help researchers collect data on urban microclimates (University of Birmingham/Cover Images)

‘If [the pigeon owners] are not happy with any aspect of putting the sensors on their back, then they don’t have to fly their birds,’ explains Rick Thomas, the research fellow who leads the study. The welfare of the birds is utterly paramount and, they’re not likely to cause the same issues as drones, explained Thomas.

The pigeons all come from local volunteer groups.Pigeons have become the latest recruits in helping researchers gather data on climate change. Scientists at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. have developed a tiny set of sensors resembling a small backpack that can be strapped onto the back of pigeons. These little sensors help researchers collect data on urban microclimates ??? the fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and winds that can have major effects on living in major cities. So where do the pigeons come from? The group works with local volunteers who raise homing pigeons. Known for their abilities to return to their nest, homing pigeons have been used as far back as Ghengis Khan to carry messages across long distances. Using homing pigeons means that the researchers are sure to get their instruments back and can download the information before sending the birds on their way to collect more data. The design of the backpack conceived to keep the safety and comfort of the birds in mind. Each weighs less than 3 percent of the pigeon???s body weight, which is the standard for bird tracking devices. Thomas???s wife sewed each backpack, going through several versions until they found the perfect fit. ???If [the pigeon owners] are not happy with any aspect of putting the sensors on their back, then they don???t have to fly their birds,??? explains Rick Thomas, the research fellow who leads the study. ???The welfare of the birds is utterly paramount.??? Thomas also pointed out several good reasons to use birds rather than something like drone technology. For one, drones are not allowed to fly freely in any area, particularly after the trouble a drone caused at Gatwick airport in December. Secondly, different technology would not be as cost effective as what???s possible with the pigeons. Thus far, the group???s band of pigeons have logged over 620 miles with their backpacks over the course of 41 flights. The hopes are that the climate data can be used by scientists to help them predict how pollution

Drones are not allowed to fly freely in any area, particularly after the trouble a drone caused at Gatwick airport in December. What’s more, drone technology would not be as cost effective as what’s possible with the pigeons.

Thus far, the group’s band of pigeons have logged over 620 miles with their backpacks over the course of 41 flights. Impressive!

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2019/03/25/scientists-recruited-pigeons-help-stop-climate-change-9008203

Have a Pigeon Problem?

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.

Voted Best Canadian wholesaler for Bird Deterrent products eight years in a row.

Contact us at 1- 877– 4– NO-BIRD, (604) 585-9279, or visit our website at www.pigeonpatrol.ca