Special “Gulls, Crows, Pigeons, Woodpeckers” issue of the magazine

The special Gulls, Crows, Pigeons, Woodpeckers issue (volume 29, number 5) of the magazine has flown its way (through the internet, in PDF form) to subscribers. The table of contents and several free articles are online. We heartily encourage you to buy your very own copy of the issue, or even better to subscribe to […]

“Shigeru Watanabe Proves Art Is for the Birds”

Nippon.com profiles Ig Nobel Prize winner Shigeru Watanabe. It begins: Japan’s Ig Nobel Prize Winners Monet or Picasso? Japanese Researcher Watanabe Shigeru Proves Art Is for the Birds Keiō University Professor Emeritus Watanabe Shigeru and colleagues won the Ig Nobel Prize in psychology in 1995 for showing that birds can distinguish between different styles of […]

Pigeons as Trained Observers in the War on Cancer

Pigeons may be as good as some bad radiologists, in some ways, maybe, suggests this new study: “Pigeons (Columba livia) as Trainable Observers of Pathology and Radiology Breast Cancer Images,” Richard M. Levenson, Elizabeth A. Krupinski, Victor M. Navarro, and Edward A. Wasserman, PLoS ONE, 10(11): e0141357. (Thanks to Ig Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Oberzaucher for […]

The Virtual Pigeon’s Progress

Professor Shigeru Watanabe was one of the co-winners of the 1995 IgNobel psychology prize (for success in training pigeons to discriminate between the paintings of Picasso and those of Monet.) Since then, the professor’s research team at Keio University, Japan, have linked up with Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada, to create and test what could well […]

Why Do Birds Bob Their Head While Running? (Locomotion, part 2)

The question : ‘Why do some*(see note below) birds bob their heads when walking?’ has perplexed scientists for many years. Some researchers suggest that head-bobbing may be correlated with the morphology of the retina, but others propose that it’s mechanically linked to the locomotor system, and that its visual functions are secondarily adapted. Either way, […]

The Traveling Pigeon Problem

In the award-winning children’s book ‘Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus’ by Mo Willems, (Hyperion Books for Children, 2003) a persistent pigeon ‘asks, pleads, cajoles, wheedles, connives, negotiates, demands and uses emotional blackmail in attempts to get behind the wheel’. The bus driver is decidedly reluctant to let the pigeon drive. But why? “On […]