The Surprisingly Noble History of the Much Maligned Common Street Pigeon

In a humorously informative episode of “It’s Okay To Be Smart“, host Joe Hanson shares the fascinating history of the common pigeon, noting Charles Darwin‘s intense fascination with the bird, its noble ancestry, excellent eyesight and internal homing system that still puzzles scientists to this very day.

How are pigeons so good at finding their way home from places they’ve never been? Different experiments have found pigeons use visual maps, Earth’s magnetic field, the angle of the sun, even smells to navigate. But when scientists knock each of these senses out, some birds can still find their way home. What we do know is pigeons use a lot of senses, maybe even some we don’t know about yet.