Birds with Long Memories

Printer-friendly version

Parrots are not the only ones with long memories, other bird species also hold long memories!

It turns out parrots (Psittacines) and crows (Corvids) aren't the only birds with fiendishly powerful memories. Pigeons (Columbidae) are also capable of spontaneously remembering which humans mistreated them, and even an attempt to disguise the identity of their one-time abuser can't fool them. Crows are known to hold 5-year grudges. Once a pigeon recognizes a human as a threat, it appears there's no way of convincing them otherwise. That's the result from experiments conducted by researchers at the University of Paris. The team worked with feral birds who had received no special training or instructions. Despite this, the pigeons displayed an amazing aptitude for recognizing human faces. 2 similar-looking humans would go to a park. One person would ignore the pigeons completely, while the other would actively try to chase them away. Then the pair would return to park, but this time neither would bother the pigeons. The researchers repeated this several times, on some occasions even having the 2 humans swap clothes so as to confuse the pigeons, but the birds always immediately recognized the human who had once mistreated them and without fail ran away from that person.