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This study brings together work in pattern recognition and animal behaviour. By applying algorithms in pattern recognition, we examined how visual landscape information influences pigeons' homing behaviour. We used an automated procedure (Canny edge detector) to extract edges from an aerial image of the experimental terrain. Analysis of pigeons' homing routes recorded using global positioning system (GPS) trackers showed that the chosen homing paths, as well as changes in the birds' navigational states, tended to coincide with these edges. This study demonstrates that some edge-containing land features attract homing pigeons and trigger changes in their navigational states.

Original publication




Journal article


J Theor Biol

Publication Date





71 - 78


Algorithms, Animals, Columbidae, Flight, Animal, Homing Behavior, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Orientation, Pattern Recognition, Visual