Do homing pigeons find their way home more quickly at different times of the day?
The materials required for the experiment are as follows:
- 5 homing pigeons. Select 5 trained homing pigeons that are about 1 year old each.
- 1 car
- 1 cage for the pigeons
- an assistant
- 2 cell phones
- a stop watch
1. For this experiment, the independent variable is the time of the day when the pigeon is released to return home – ie: in the morning or in the afternoon. The dependent variable is the amount of time taken by the pigeons to fly back home. Use a stopwatch to time them. The constants (control variables) are the distance traveled by the homing pigeons, the pigeons’age and the weather conditions.
2. On the morning of the first day of the experiment, place the 5 homing pigeons in a cage. Drive to a location about 20 kilometers away. An assistant should be waiting near the pigeons’ home with a cell phone and a stopwatch.
3. Before releasing the pigeons, the assistant is to standby with the stopwatch. The assistant needs to wait near the nest of the homing pigeons. Start the stopwatch when the pigeons are released. Record how long it takes for the pigeons to find their way home in the table below.
4. Repeat procedures number 3 and 4 in the afternoon, at the same location.
5. Repeat procedures number 2,3 and 4 the next day.
Keep your hands clean before and after handling the pigeons. Pigeon waste is highly toxic.