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Pigeons recognize facial features of humans

While we’re on the theme of pigeons, an interesting study out of Glasgow this week revealed that pigeons have an uncanny ability to recognize people’s faces, according to US News.

In fact, the pigeons in the study were so perceptive, they were able to tell the difference between two men who wore the same clothing and were of similar build and color.

Let this be a warning to any of you who have chased (or were planning on chasing) pigeons for kicks. They won’t forget you and may seek vengeance in the future.

This is how the two researchers conducted the study in Paris according to CBS News:

One researcher ignored the pigeons after feeding them, allowing them to eat the food, while the other was hostile and chased them away. This was followed by a second session when neither researcher chased away the pigeons.

The experiment was repeated several times, with the pigeons continuously recognizing the individuals and avoiding the researcher who had first chased them away even when the participant no longer did so. Swapping lab coats during the experiments did not confuse the pigeons, and they continued to stay away from the researcher who had been initially hostile.

Although they might be seen as pests, pigeons are very intelligent creatures. Centuries of living in close quarters with humans have given them the ability to recognize faces, perhaps as a method for identifying dangerous people.

So, the next time you want to chase pigeons for some innocent fun with no consequence, think again because they’ll remember your face.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.


  1. They recognize faces. I changed clothes, handbag, or put hat on my head but they recognized me.

  2. grr

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