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Pigeons home faster through polluted air.

  • Author(s): Li, Zhongqiu;
  • Courchamp, Franck;
  • Blumstein, Daniel T
  • et al.

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Air pollution, especially haze pollution, is creating health issues for both humans and other animals. However, remarkably little is known about how animals behaviourally respond to air pollution. We used multiple linear regression to analyse 415 pigeon races in the North China Plain, an area with considerable air pollution, and found that while the proportion of pigeons successfully homed was not influenced by air pollution, pigeons homed faster when the air was especially polluted. Our results may be explained by an enhanced homing motivation and possibly an enriched olfactory environment that facilitates homing. Our study provides a unique example of animals' response to haze pollution; future studies are needed to identify proposed mechanisms underlying this effect.

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