February 6, 2013
The Case of the Disappearing Homing Pigeons

Between 1968 and 1987, Cornell professor William T. Keeton and his colleagues released thousands of homing pigeons from different points in upstate New York and then tracked them to see if they could find their way home.
Homing pigeons are famously good navigators, and, for the most part, the pigeons set sail in the right direction. But there was one route that caused them trouble: A 74-mile stretch from the Jersey Hill fire tower back to their loft at Cornell. Only 10 percent of the pigeons trying to make that journey ever made it home. The rest — about 900 pigeons — disappeared completely.
Except, that is, on August 13, 1969. On that date, the pigeons released at Jersey Hill flew right back to Ithaca with no problems. Down on the ground, Keeton and his team took meticulous notes about the weather and whatever else they could notice. Nothing seemed different from any other day. They were mystified.
Read more. [Image: William T. Keeton (Cornell University)]

The Case of the Disappearing Homing Pigeons

Between 1968 and 1987, Cornell professor William T. Keeton and his colleagues released thousands of homing pigeons from different points in upstate New York and then tracked them to see if they could find their way home.

Homing pigeons are famously good navigators, and, for the most part, the pigeons set sail in the right direction. But there was one route that caused them trouble: A 74-mile stretch from the Jersey Hill fire tower back to their loft at Cornell. Only 10 percent of the pigeons trying to make that journey ever made it home. The rest — about 900 pigeons — disappeared completely.

Except, that is, on August 13, 1969. On that date, the pigeons released at Jersey Hill flew right back to Ithaca with no problems. Down on the ground, Keeton and his team took meticulous notes about the weather and whatever else they could notice. Nothing seemed different from any other day. They were mystified.

Read more. [Image: William T. Keeton (Cornell University)]

  1. tiffanychao reblogged this from karennhsu
  2. relivethememories reblogged this from karennhsu
  3. karennhsu reblogged this from theatlantic
  4. sirjosbanks reblogged this from compotator and added:
    How do birds navigate? They hear sounds that we cannot perceive of the very earth itself vibrating in response to the...
  5. compotator reblogged this from theatlantic
  6. interesting-stuff reblogged this from silas216
  7. wahtdahell reblogged this from theatlantic
  8. shshshan reblogged this from effloreo
  9. effloreo reblogged this from theatlantic
  10. taxdollars reblogged this from theatlantic
  11. thisisanexercise reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    It was a magical year.
  12. wizardblue reblogged this from theatlantic
  13. ragingbitchfest reblogged this from silas216
  14. silas216 reblogged this from theatlantic
  15. rubyarrav reblogged this from thalassarche
  16. thirtyeightlife reblogged this from theatlantic
  17. zanshinart reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    COOL COOL COOL science.
  18. topazwoods reblogged this from theatlantic
  19. gitesh said: wow