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We see it in movies and TV shows all the time.
Birds delivering messages.
Whether it's a historical drama or the ravens in Game of Thrones,
one has to wonder, can birds actually deliver messages with accuracy?
Not to burst your fantasy bubble, but ravens, while incredibly intelligent, aren't the likeliest of birds to get this job done.
Sorry, Jon Snow.
But the somewhat surprising fact is that other birds, such as pigeons, are fantastic at it.
Hence, the name "Carrier Pigeon."
In fact, they were successfully used nearly 3000 years ago to declare the winner of the Olympics abroad.
Pigeons have an innate homing ability, meaning they'll return to their nest to mate.
Flights as long as 1800 kilometers have been recorded.
Because of this, they've been used for centuries to send messages.
But, and this is a pretty big but.
They generally only send messages in one direction.
They'd be taken away from their homes, and when needed, could send messages back home.
Because their natural instinct was to fly there.
So, the idea of sending a bird wherever you need it to go is a little farfetched.
However, by placing their food at one location and their home in another.
Pigeons have been trained to fly back and forth between two locations reliably.
They have great eyesight and use the sun and the stars, landscapes, odors, sound waves and potentially even the earth's magnetic field to locate home.
Not to mention, they seem to have an internal compass which orients them.
And because of their migratory behavior, they can be trained as flocks, as opposed to other birds which would require one-on-one attention to accomplish the task.
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Can Birds Actually Deliver Messages?

30388 Folder Collection
廖詩愉 published on May 10, 2016    廖詩愉 translated    王妍心 reviewed
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