Pigeons are one of the “meats of the future” mentioned in this piece on Discover Magazine’s website by Emily Anthes. She makes the point that environmental concerns may lead us to look for meat in new places, specifically species that are often considered vermin or invasive pests. Personally, I think pigeons are the most appetizing choice from this list. And unlike insects, rats, and squirrels, pigeons have a long history in our cuisine already and feature as a delicacy in dishes around the world. In the U.S. we’ve managed to forget a lot of this history as we’ve become accustomed to see the birds as urban pests. Pigeons lend themselves to local, backyard farming–it’s how they used to be kept. So it makes sense to turn to pigeons as an alternative to industrial farmed poultry.
Archive for July, 2009
Pigeons get a lot of flack for their tiny brains, yet scientists have long been interested in how the birds manage to find their way home even from unfamiliar places hundreds of miles away. I wrote a news article for Technology Review about a device that actually measures the brain waves of homing pigeons as they fly. It’s hard even to know how to interpret the information, but so far it looks like brain waves do change when the birds are attending to objects and when they are orienting themselves. Another cool tool for studying the longstanding puzzle of pigeon navigation.