Why Does Everyone Hate Pigeons?

Human history is intertwined with some of Earth’s mightiest species, but there is one graceful creature that rises above the
rest. Only when seen it in its ideal habitat, can
we truly appreciate this king among birds. Behold: the nobel pigeon.” If you think they’re only good for pooping
on statues, then think again. [OPENING MUSIC] In On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin
presented an idea that changed the world. He knew if he was right, this idea was gonna
turn science on its head, so in chapter 1, you know what he chose as his very first
example? It wasn’t the tortoises, or finches, or
even the giant fossil armadillos he found during his journeys. He chose pigeons. Over giant fossil armadillos. But he had a good reason, and if you think
otherwise, then you’ve never seen FANCY pigeons. These are the birds that got Darwin’s attention,
because underneath all that feathery fashion, is just one species, like dogs with wings
instead of rats with wings. All of that variation was tweaked from one
ancient mold. The wild rock dove. Thousands of years before they were eating
old hot dog buns out of the trash, these birds were found on seaside cliffs, but pretty much
as soon as cities sprung up, they moved in, because to a pigeon, a building is just
a cliff with better architecture. Pigeons are uniquely suited to city life,
but they were only able to conquer all of Earth’s urban areas because we brought them
there. Why? Because we liked feeding them… to ourselves. In fact, from Egypt to Rome to the early 20th
century, the main roles of a pigeon were dinner, or something for rich people to breed into
silly shapes. Over time here and there, a few of these domestic
birds escaped and returned to a “wild” life, they just never left the city. But for some reason along that journey, our opinion
of pigeons went from this… to this. Watch pigeons pecking at the sidewalk and
you’re not looking at the smartest birds in the tree. They can’t solve puzzles like crows. They can’t talk like parrots. A pigeon’s brain is only about the size
of that fingertip… but like most things in nature there’s more to the story. Most of their skull is eyeball: if they were
the size of humans, their eyes would be as big as grapefruits… Those huge eyes have five color receptors,
compared to our three, letting them see things we can’t imagine. One pigeon named Linus was trained to remember
nearly a thousand images. Pigeons can peck out a Monet from a Picasso,
they can even judge if a child’s drawing is good or bad. Pigeons can tell correctly spelled words among
misspelled words, As if they aren’t annoying enough.. They can even put groups of objects in numerical
order, which sounds easy because we’re smart, but pigeons do numbers as well as monkeys
do, Pigeon vision is the bomb. Literally. During WW II, psychologist B.F. Skinner tried
to turn these birds into weapons. He trained pigeons to keep an image centered
on a tiny screen by pecking at it. He hooked this up to a navigation system,
and then loaded it inside of a bomb. He wanted to create explosive missiles piloted
by kamikaze pigeons. He built several successful prototypes using
money from the General Mills cereal company… yes, the people who make Cheerios, but the
Army never let it get off the ground. Pigeon navigation goes a lot farther than
bird bombs. Just like /human/ city-dwellers, pigeons are
commuters, flying out in the morning to find food and coming back at night. They’re tightly bonded to their home, and
this instinct is so strong that we’ve used them as messengers for centuries, like Flapchat
instead of Snapchat. Before Paul Reuter founded a global news service,
he used pigeons to deliver news. During World War I and II, racing pigeons
with names like Cher Ami and GI Joe were given actual medals for delivering messages under
fire. 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. Even though pigeons are everywhere, there’s
one thing you never seem to see: Baby pigeons. They do exist, and… they are ugly. But it’s a reminder that even a bird that’s
everywhere only gives us glimpses into its life. Darwin’s ideas about natural selection were
born on a voyage around the world. But you don’t have to go to exotic places
to have your mind blown by evolution’s awesomeness. Darwin knew that, and that’s why he picked
the pigeon to introduce the world to his theory. If you know where to look, wildlife is everywhere that
we are: just make sure if you look up to admire it, you keep your mouth closed. Stay curious. I want to thank our friends from BBC Earth
for helping us make this episode, because pigeons look awesome in slow-motion. Some of pigeons’ oldest enemies have followed
them to cities: birds of prey. These scientists are studying peregrine falcons
for Planet Earth II, the sequel to the groundbreaking BBC series. It’s part of “Cities”, an entire episode
dedicated to urban wildlife. Of course, birds of prey aren’t pigeons’
only urban predators. For Planet Earth II, the team filmed a pigeon
hunt you have to see to believe. You can find Planet Earth II on BBC One in
the UK and coming soon to BBC America. For more information, check out their website.

100 thoughts on “Why Does Everyone Hate Pigeons?”

  1. I'm 5:45 minutes in and I still haven't heard why people hate pigeons. I dare say I got clickbaited. Regardless, the video was interesting.

  2. I have been feeding a flock of pigeons for two years. Every morning at 6 am, I am down at the store fronts shops and they are waiting for me on the roof. As soon as they seem my car they start flying down to the spot I feed them their breakfast. I love them, have them all named and a few have no toes on one foot, some limp. I try to educate those passerbyers that make remarks to me like their pest or their dirty but their are those that love to watch them eat, think Om doing a good thing. I think their beautiful, sweet and they need my protection. Three got taken by a hawk, I cried when I found their feathers. I can't stop what I started, I couldn't let them go hungry even for a day. They are my children

  3. Pigeons would hang out at the top of our chimney, and all day we had a constant chorus of "coooo COOOO" projecting into our living room.


  5. I love pidgeons 😀
    They are cute. And sound cute. And can work as a mailman.
    Try to get your parrot to do that.

    Hatoful boyfriend intensifies

  6. "They can't talk like parrots"

    I've heard anecdotal evidence of pet pigeons saying words, all songbirds are theoretically capable of mimicking speech, ravens are especially good at it.

  7. A lot of pigeons live at my place. There are 3 pigeon nests in my home. We dont care about them and vice versa. But they are cute and fluffy. Sometimes I watch them through my window, cuz they are stress relief agents.

  8. Pigeons have been given the most Victoria Crosses (highest medal in the British Army) than any other animal used during war. 👍

  9. The bird bomb failed because an idea that is so flashy was actually chosen against the bird bomb.

    Nuclear Bombs.

  10. For me GOD created pigeons for little girls to run to the middle of a hundred of them and see them take off in a beautiful display of organised choreography.

  11. I dont hate them at all. I feel sorry for them when I see them. They should be living in nature not eating rubbish. Though my city at least is close to a lot of nature so hopefully their homes are out there and they only commute to the city for the day just like people do.

  12. Fed pigeons on the shore..Held the graham crackers in my hand for them to eat from my hand. Then I cupped my hand& they'd come eat,then I held my hand higher&out of the 15 or so pigeons 2-3 would perch on my hand to eat. Mainly 1 in particular,he became my fwriend. >_<….I've never done that& it's freaking amazing.i did this for almost 2 hours. Had 2 perched on my arm a few times but I recognized which one was my fav,he trusted me most. So I'd shoo the 2nd pigeon from perching at the same time,he had to wait.
    Then…..the one I gained the trust of,would perch on my hand and I was able to turn my hand inwards to pet him.
    Sometimes I'd hold him up and sing the intro to the lion King song.

  13. I love pigeons, me and my wife call them "piggins" I love how they are polite, they dont make a fuss to get food (like seagulls do) they dont care what anyone thinks of them, and they just carry on with their day with what little they have, often shared with a loved one, like two love doves 🙂

  14. These birds have unique and adorable little characters….. If you want to sooth some of the stresses of this unnatural age… familiarize yourself with pigeons (doves).

  15. The demonization of our friendly neighbours is driven by media induced blind ignorance and that is very dangerous and well, stupid.

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