New Theory on How Homing Pigeons Find Home

The birds could be using the specific sound signatures of home to navigate.

Source: National Geographic

Homing pigeons (Columba livia) have been prized for their navigational abilities for thousands of years. They’ve served as messengers during war, as a means of long-distance communication, and as prized athletes in international races.
But there are places around the world that seem to confuse these birds—areas where they repeatedly vanish in the wrong direction or scatter on random headings rather than fly straight home, said Jon Hagstrum, a geophysicist who authored a study that may help researchers understand how homing pigeons navigate.

Hagstrum’s paper, published online Wednesday in the Journal of Experimental Biology, proposes an intriguing theory for homing pigeon disorientation—that the birds are following ultralow frequency sounds back towards their lofts and that disruptions in their ability to “hear” home is what screws them up.

Called infrasound, these sound waves propagate at frequencies well below the range audible to people, but pigeons can pick them up, said Hagstrum, who works at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California.

“They’re using sound to image the terrain [surrounding] their loft,” he said. “It’s like us visually recognizing our house using our eyes.”

Homeward Bound?

For years, scientists have struggled to explain carrier pigeons’ directional challenges in certain areas, known as release-site biases.

This “map” issue, or a pigeon’s ability to tell where it is in relation to where it wants to go, is different from the bird’s compass system, which tells it which direction it’s headed in. (Learn about how other animals navigate.)

“We know a lot about pigeon compass systems, but what has been controversial, even to this day, has been their map [system],” said Cordula Mora, an animal behavior researcher at Bowling Green State University in Ohio who was not involved in the study.

Until now, the two main theories say that pigeons rely either on their sense of smell to find their way home or that they follow the Earth’s magnetic field lines, she said.

If something screwed up their sense of smell or their ability to follow those fields, the thinking has been, that could explain why pigeons got lost in certain areas. Read More on the Homing Pigeons here

Why am I talking about homing pigeons you ask? Read Walter The Homeless Man and maybe a homing pigeon will help you find your way back home.  BUY Walter The Homeless Man 

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Cherry Trees in Winter

cherry tree

For the past few months the very word “cherry tree blossom” has been magnified in my spirit. It all started back in November or December while watching a movie called “Saving Mr. Banks.”  This film is about the author of Mary Poppins and how her children’s classics came about. Although the author is quite cantankerous in the movie, I fell in love with her immediately. The movie takes a peek backwards into her childhood where horrific and glorious memories haunt her.

Yes, it can be similar for many of us.  During the movie, in one particular scene, she looks out her window at the cherry tree blossoms and mentions how they look like cotton candy on a stick. In that moment my heart leaped out of my chest, then an echo, “cherry tree blossoms.”  “What can this mean?” I silently pondered. The next day I ordered Mary Poppins to read. “If you want to find Cherry Tree Lane all you have to do is ask a policeman at the crossroads.” P. L. Travers.

I married a policeman at my own crossroads in life and I am thankful every day for his companionship, but what was God trying to speak to me, when he continued to grab my attention using cherry trees? “Cherry-Tree Lane, where the houses run down one side and the Park runs down the other and the cherry-trees go dancing right down the middle.” Dancing cherry trees and cotton candy, can it get any better than this? I was so enthralled to find out what the prophetic meaning was, after reading Mary Poppins, I ordered the complete works of P.L Travers. The day of ordering it I received a text from a friend who is gifted in the prophetic. He lives in New York City and this is what it said, “Today as I was strolling along I noticed that in the dead of winter, the cherry trees are budding early and it reminded me of a dream God gave me about Cherry tree blossoms. In my dream the trees were tall and laden with vibrant pink flowers. It was in the heart of winter and freezing cold, yet the trees held magnificent blossoms.” My mouth hung open as I walked over to my husband and handed him my phone to read the text. Hmmm, interesting, he said…Wonder what it all could mean?”

I could not find any scriptures pertaining to cherry trees or their blossoms and the closest I came to it was the fig tree. ““Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door” Matthew 24:32. I know we are living in a time such as this but the message seemed more personal to me and so I kept searching. One of my discoveries was that every year Jews make a special blessing called Birkat Ha-llan or the blessing of the tree. Whenever one sees a FRUIT TREE in bloom in the spring, one is to recite a special blessing. My friends dream seemed to say that in the dead of winter, I am going to bloom in your life!  When things are the darkest, barest and the coldest, I am going to BLOOM in your midst!

I continued to ponder this Cherry tree idiom and then life went on and just as I had almost completely forgotten about it, months later it came crashing back. Most of you know that my husband and I have not done much with my books. We haven’t really had the finances or felt led to. We just self-published my four books and felt that in God’s timing He would open a door. Although we received many encouraging responses from our readers, sales have been limited and often I have asked Abba Father if He is going to bless these books. A few weeks ago my husband saw an advertisement in the local paper for a free marketing seminar with Woodland Marketing and we decided to go. We had just gotten 14 or 15 inches of snow a few weeks prior and it was still colder than usual. A steady rain mixed with snow was slicing the air as we ventured to a local pizzeria and listened intently to the marketing expert. After the meeting we met with the speaker, Paige Nickel, and arranged a date with her at a cafĂ© on the square in town. It was one I’d never been to. On the morning of our lunch date, several folks on facebook had posted pictures of Cherry tree blossoms due to a festival held every year in Washington, DC. So, once again I had cherry trees on my mind before my husband and I left for our meeting. I also couldn’t help but wonder about the almond tree blossoms and Aaron’s rod that budded and bloomed and the beauty of the Tassels hanging from His Tallith.

As we walked into the cafĂ© I gazed at the large open floor plan and then noticed one table with some folders and paperwork on it, about that time our marketer ventured from the back, greeted us warmly and sat down in front of the paperwork. It was about that time that I had a JEREMIAH moment! “WHAT DO YOU SEE?” I see the branch of an almond tree,” Jeremiah replied. Then Hashem answered him and said, “You have seen well, for I am watching over MY WORD TO PERFORM IT.” Jeremiah 1:11-12 NASB.

YES, directly over her head were three large photographs of CHERRY TREE BLOSSOMS and on the wall behind her was a painted cherry tree. Two scriptures were also painted on the wall, two that had meaning. The first one I saw is my husband’s favorite verse, “Taste and see that the LORD is good” Psalms 34:8.  The next verse I read is one of my favorite verses. . . ”The FRUIT of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls” proverbs 11:30… I thank God that He keeps His promises and that whatever He promised will BLOOM in your life, He will WATCH over HIS WORD to PERFORM IT! Could it be the season my books bursting forth and blooming like the blossoms of a cherry tree?

I hear Bert singing, “Winds in the east, mist coming in. Like somethin’ is brewin’ and bout to begin.” Bless the fruit trees and bless His name forever! Ps. while writing this blog my oldest son put an offer in on a house on Cherry Lane. He knew nothing about the cherries..