General Question

wrestlemaniac's avatar

Why pigeons’ heads bob when they walk?

Asked by wrestlemaniac (810points) August 23rd, 2008

I don’t know.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

8 Answers

AstroChuck's avatar

Because pigeons are too cool to just walk. They’re pimpin’.

wrestlemaniac's avatar

My mom had a pet pigeon once, we don’t know what happened to it.

buster's avatar

Because they can’t do the funky chicken.

Harp's avatar

There are a few hypotheses for why pigeons do this, but the most credible is that it helps them make visual sense of the landscape moving past their field of vision.

The head motion consists of a stationary phase, when the head is still in space, followed by a rapid forward motion. Each provides the pigeon with important visual information. During the stationary phase, the motion of other objects, such as potential preditors, can be most easily detected. During the forward phase, the brain can extract depth information from motion parallax (pigions don’t have binocular vision for depth perception).

That head bobbing is unrelated to the mechanics of walking was proven by experiments having the pigeons walk on a treadmill. Because their visual field was not moving, the pigeons did not move their heads even though their legs were moving. Here’s the writeup of that experiment, if you’re interested.

buster's avatar

Very interesting Harp

Magnus's avatar

They have to refocus their vision. They can’t pan without getting a serious headache.

loser's avatar

Actually, they’re just looking for treadmills.

sweetythang's avatar

Well, i think that it is because they are hot.

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