Apr 01 2011

Pigeon Quiz

Published by at 7:30 am under Doves & Chickens,Quiz

For April Fools' Day I couldn't resist a little quiz about the amazing talents of pigeons. 

Are any of these statements true? 

  1. During World War II electronic missile guidance systems were not yet reliable so the NDRC funded a project to use trained pigeons to guide missiles.
  2. Pigeons can hear distant thunderstorms and far-away volcanoes that we cannot hear.
  3. Pigeon nests are cemented with pigeon poop.
  4. Google uses "pigeon clusters" to enhance its search technology.
  5. Some pigeons can fly 600 miles a day.
  6. Pigeons can rescue people capsized at sea.

Want to hazard a guess?  Leave a comment with your answer.

(photo by Chuck Tague)

18 responses so far

18 Responses to “Pigeon Quiz”

  1. Frank Corrention 01 Apr 2011 at 7:54 am

    Not being afraid to be an April Fool, I would have to say there are more ideas in the cosmology than we can imagine. I believe pigeons can hear some things we can’t, including distant storms and volcanos; and they may have located stranded people; as for the purpose of guiding missiles, it seems that just shooting the missile in the general area of the target would be as effective; and the pigeon poop probably ends up holding anything together. Thanks for being a good sport.

  2. Libby Strizzion 01 Apr 2011 at 8:00 am

    I am guessing “all of the above” are true. (based on no knowledge whatsoever, just a hunch).

  3. Kathyon 01 Apr 2011 at 8:16 am

    All of the above……

  4. Larisaon 01 Apr 2011 at 8:51 am

    I’d hazard the guess that the untrue statement is about using poop to cement the nest. (A number of the others, I already know to be true! 😀 )

  5. Barb Simonon 01 Apr 2011 at 9:34 am

    How about the idea that one thing you never see is a baby pigeon? Has anyone seen one?

  6. Kat Walterson 01 Apr 2011 at 9:55 am

    Hi Kate, I would say yes to all but #4 Google and # 6 recusing capsized boat. they might be able to locate it but as to an actual rescue, I doubt it! While I am at it, could you give me the site for pixcontroller’s websites? I have lost most of them and dearly would like to get back to the eagles and bears and African sites. Thank You for today, and yesterday and all the days to come. You really brighten my days!

  7. Joshua Schultzon 01 Apr 2011 at 10:27 am

    Well I guess I’ll give i a go. After all, failing this quiz won’t show up on my college application.

    1. My guess is false. I have little faith in the NDRC, but I don’t think that they are that stupid.

    2. My guess is false again. It don’t seem like pigeons would need such good hearing in their lower range.

    3. I’m going to say true. After all, anything near pigeons will eventually be cemented with pigeon poop.

    4. I’m going to say true. (After all, the coin toss method works 50% of the time on true/false questions, right?)

    5. False. I don’t think that’s possible. The pigeon would have to fly 12 hours non-stop at 50 mph. That just doesn’t seem likely for a bird with such a large body and small wings that prefers to spend a lot of it’s time on the ground or perching.

    6. False. There’s probably some creative way that this is possible, but I couldn’t think of it.

  8. Kate St. Johnon 01 Apr 2011 at 11:20 am

    Woo Hoo! Your answers made me laugh which I really need today because it’s snowing –> Nature’s April Fools joke on Pittsburgh.

    Here are the answers. You’ll notice that the list is numbered now to make this easier.
    1. true
    2. true
    3. rather true. Pigeons re-use their nests. As succeeding babies poop in the nest the poop forms a hard cup that glues the twigs together and becomes the foundation of the next nesting attempt.
    4. false. This was an April Fools joke by Google in 2002.
    5. true
    6. true, except that it’s impractical.
    Complete information about each answer is linked to the period at the end of each statement in the original quiz. Hover your mouse over the period until it turns into a pointing finger icon and then click. Ta dah!
    For some answers you’ll have to scroll down & look for them. #3’s answer is at the bottom of the page.
    p.s. The answer to #4 is a hoot!

  9. faith cornellon 01 Apr 2011 at 11:28 am

    Oh my, came home from shopping & read all these answers; how wonderful. I had a cousin who used to breed & sell racing pigeons so I know they have alot of cabilities in some breeds. Really amazing at so many true answers. Since you had already put the ans. in I didn’t have to embarrass myself. Thank you so much Kate for this. Wonderful April Fool message, we need smiles & laughter.

  10. Kate St. Johnon 01 Apr 2011 at 11:33 am

    Never see a baby pigeon: Baby pigeons don’t fledge until they look like adults. Pigeon experts can tell the difference between juveniles and adults but most people cannot. Since peregrines are pigeon experts I’ll bet they can spot a juvenile right away. 😉

  11. Sharon Leadbitteron 01 Apr 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I’ve seen a baby pigeon … in fact .. I rescued one that had fallen out of a nest under the Bloomfield Bridge on my home from the pool about 10 years ago. Was kinda messed up so I took it to the vets (He thought I was crazy but he fixed him up for me anyway)

    Abraham lived a good 7 years and he loved to torture my cats by dive bombing from the mantel and pinching their tails.

    He also loved to splash around in the tub when I would put about 2 inches of water in it for him.


    Here’s a pic of 2 … not Abraham but he was pretty much at this point when I found him

  12. Kate St. Johnon 01 Apr 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Wow, Sharon, they sure look odd!

  13. Kate St. Johnon 01 Apr 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Kat, finally here’s the answer to your question about the webcam link. Try wildearth.tv or pixcontroller.com

  14. Mary DeVon 02 Apr 2011 at 12:17 am

    Cool pigeon facts, Kate!

    Say, did you ever hear about the British Peregrines of WWII? Specially trained peregrines who hunted down the German messenger pigeons (which, of course, they would do even WITHOUT any special training!)



    Yay, peregrines!

  15. Mary DeVon 02 Apr 2011 at 12:19 am

    And, um, never see a baby pigeon? What do people think “Squab Under Glass” is? 😉

  16. sharon leadbiteron 02 Apr 2011 at 8:13 am

    I think baby pigeons definitiely qualify for the phrase … “so ugly they’re cute”

  17. Joshua Schultzon 06 Apr 2011 at 11:52 am

    Wow, I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried. And I call myself a birder!

  18. Robin Youngon 09 Apr 2011 at 8:12 am

    I agree with Sharon – newly hatched pigeons have no feathers. Naked, goose-bump skin, google-eyed, big footed uglies. We have Peregrines in Boise, ID who winter over because the pigeon and passerine resources are more than sufficient.

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