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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 November 2005, 16:06 GMT
Birds floated in navigation study
Racing pigeon
The study asks whether the birds are linked to their loft or a location
Pigeons have been sent down the River Severn on a floating loft to see how their homing instincts work.

Scientists wanted to test whether the birds were connected to a geographical location or to their loft.

The pigeons spent four months on a raft at Sharpness docks and were then sailed 40 miles away to the Bristol Channel.

They were released and monitored via satellite trackers. The data is being analysed and the team hopes to unravel the mysteries of animal migration.

Biologist Dr Rupert Sheldrake said: "If you're taken hundreds of miles from home and simply abandoned and given a compass, you know where north is, but you won't know where home is.

"So how do they know where home is. There've been all sorts of theories, but none of these have turned out to explain it."

The experiment was commissioned by the TV programme Animal Planet and filmed by Bristol-based Icon Films.

Paranormal Pigeons is due to be aired next March.

Pigeons steer clear of the peaks
02 Sep 05 |  Northern Ireland
Pigeons 'sense magnetic field'
24 Nov 04 |  Science/Nature

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