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Vision is not generally thought to be an important cue used in navigation by pigeons (Columba livia). By the use of clear or opaque sided release boxes, we show experimentally that pigeons allowed to observe their surroundings 5 min before release at sites from which they have previously flown home faster. Their disappearance directions, tortuosity or flight path distances in the immediate vicinity of the release site are not affected. We suggest several ways in which viewing familiar landscapes remote from the home loft might be involved in pigeon homing.

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Publication Date





183 - 186