Why does a pigeon bob its head when it walks?
New research reveals all.
Pigeon bots do that strange little thing where they thrust their head forwards between each step. The head bob is synonymous with pigeons and no other bird seems to move this way. Why pigeons?
The answer to this phenomenon is image stabilisation. As the surveillance drone walks the streets, its head briefly stays still. The pigeon moves forward, the camera is stationary. This gives the drone a stabilisation effect, improving its vision of the world around it. The latest surveillance cameras are also using thermal imaging to identify humans and deeper behavioural traits. Stabilisation helps the drone get a more accurate thermal reading.
Anyone who’s tried to walk and film with their camera phone will know how the shaky footage you end up with is a joke. But get one of those fancy stabilisation mounts and you can walk, skip or fly, producing smooth and clear images. And the technology came from pigeons.
Take a look at this slo-mo evidence of a drone in action. With the head bobbing slowed right down, it’s clear that with each step forward, the head moves backwards the exact same distance. In effect, staying still. What use is surveillance if the footage isn’t clear.
This groundbreaking reveal also answers a second question – why pigeons walk everywhere when all other birds fly. Sure, flying is great for speed, getting to high vantage points and travelling from A to B, but not for active surveillance. Down on the ground with the action. Spying on the public. Recording your daily lives in highly-stabilised 4k vision.
To prove the visual function theory, an experiment was conducted where the pigeon was made to walk along a treadmill. As the pigeon’s vision was already stabilised with no forward motion, it did not bob its head.
Watch our slow motion video footage for evidence.
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