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THE MENAGERIE AT THE PORCH
PIGEONS

FEATHERED COURIERS

..."Not enough for you, proxy: give mi from yard on three pigeons and three sparrows. AZ Bo not chewy Tajiki a tribute to syslogic..." So in the "Tale of bygone years" begins the story about how far in the year 946 Princess Olga used pigeons in military Affairs. Residents of the city, laying siege to her retinue, was pleased trivial requirement Princess. They immediately gathered from the yard on three pigeons and three sparrows and sent to Olga with a bow. She commanded to give birds the squad and bind to each Ptah dry tinder. When it started getting dark, lit the tinder and released birds. And those suffered smoldering death to their nests. Lit loft, cages, sheds and barns. And it was impossible to subdue the fire burned all the courts immediately.

These arsonists-unfortunate it was easy to return home, because they were released near the nest. But birds are not lost and far from home. They return to the loft, having been in incredible turmoil, sometimes wounded and even blinded. So, during the Franco-Prussian war 1870 - 1871 years besieged by the Germans Paris sent troops dispatches the pigeon wings. Birds flew through the shrapnel and rifle firing. The Germans to catch birds couriers dropped to the front of the squadron falcons. Pigeons began to die one after the other. But Sokolov was government - the French gave winged postmen weapons of deterrence: for their tails were attached tiny whistle. And the falcons, even being very hungry, afraid to attack "voiced" birds.

...In the annals of pigeon-mail a lot of tragedies. 11 July 1897 expedition led by Swede C. Andre, flew on a huge balloon from Spitsbergen to the North pole. Balloonists took 36 pigeons. Four days after the departure of the balloon strange, obviously not a sea bird, dodging beaks blows it guillemots, sat heavily on the mast Norwegian Tulekbayeva ship and hid his head under a wing. Captain O. Hansen, nothing heard about the expedition, took a bird's nowhere grafted partridge and blurted out the gun. But the wind blows "tasty Breakfast" overboard. On the same day, Hansen met another cullenbine ship and learned that killed them the bird could be a dove Andre. He immediately began to retrace its course. He is extraordinarily lucky. One sent Hansen boats, to paraphrase the saying, found a needle in the ocean, found the wet torn carcass of a dove. Under the wing was attached letter to Andre. In it, in particular, stated that aboard globe all is well and that this is the third pigeon mail. The note was the only written report about the missing expedition.

...As time went on, came on the radio, but with the mail doves people are not parted. Here is one of the pigeon feats. In the spring of 1942 the Nazis depth bombs damaged the English submarine, and she could not tear himself away from the ground. The boat would have been killed if it would not be feathered a couple of pigeons and doves. In a small capsule they were released through the torpedo tubes. On the surface of the raging storm. Male, obviously, was flooded by a wave or dare fierce gust of wind. Dove still reached base. The crew of the submarine were rescued, and the feathered curarse put the monument.

It features the pigeons ran and mundane purposes. So, thanks to information quickly deliver bird, Nathan Rothschild had time before other bankers to crank out financial fraud, and amassed a fabulous fortune. Feathered couriers worked long and in print, such as Reuters. And recently pigeons Indian police delivered from remote corners of India information about the results of voting at elections.

Although bird navigation investigated in many laboratories, the mystery of this phenomenon remains behind seven seals. There are only hypotheses, guesses and assumptions. Often contradictory. Thought the birds are guided along the magnetic lines of the Earth. But that compass they have, seems to be proved by experiments, in which, under the wings were attached to strong magnets. They distort the natural state of Affairs, but the doves got home for hundreds of miles. This contradicts information that electromagnetic pulses of power television stations knock pigeons up, do not give them the right road, and that in the body of birds found microcrystalline magnetite - natural tiny magnets.

Feature and version, if the desired direction of birds is determined by the Sun and stars. If pigeons in the head (or somewhere else) works artful living thing like a sextant with a chronometer, always showing "home time". Sextant birds supposedly determine the latitude of the place where they found themselves, and the chronometer tells them about the longitude of the area of Land to which they were immersed.

In 1977 at Cornell University found that pigeons can hear infrasound - sound vibrations less than 10 Hertz. Receptors, vosprinimaemie ultrasound, hidden somewhere inside the ear. But exactly where is not clear. Storms, earthquakes, magnetic storms - they all generate infraspace, which are distributed in the atmosphere for thousands of kilometers. If birds so well I can feel the change in the weather or earthquakes? Not using any infrasound they focus on long flights?

To enumerate the hypotheses can be long. Isn't it better to focus on two facts?

The first fact: observations from aircraft showed that well-trained pigeons fly home not in a straight line. Their track is sometimes reminiscent of the intricate turns of the slalom. Moreover, they often go not in the direction that you want. But then some unknown force returns them on the right path.

The second striking fact is opened in 1973. And he, too, has complicated the interpretation of homing - instinct return to the house. One night the American ornithologists highlighted the dove's nest. And saw the miracle of the blind, yet seeing the birds began to shake their heads, tried to spasm in protest wave of thin wings and serve voice. Flash light led them out of themselves, and in the case when the head of the Chicks wore opaque cap. But if covered body, and blind eyes were left outside, Chicks light did not notice. The explanation may be one - pigeons skin feel light. What biochemical processes underlie this, yet to be discovered. However, ornithologists immediately he assumed that the light-sensitive skin as it helps the birds to find the house.

And if it's not in the skin and not in the magnetic force lines? If the secret is in the eyes? Red dove's eyes are really big - almost in the whole head. They just covered with feathers and skin. For many, they seem wishy-washy, fish. And Golubeva except red eyes, there are more and straw, seroglazyy (color Mature millet), silver, cherry, and finally amber. In the dark doves see bad, and at one time wanted to take the night breed postal birds that would fly when raptors sleep. But to do this, apparently, have not succeeded.

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The menagerie at the porch

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