Pigeons have become the latest recruits in helping researchers gather data on climate change.
Scientists at the University of Birmingham have developed a tiny set of sensors resembling a small backpack that can be strapped onto the back of homing pigeons.
These little sensors help researchers collect data on urban microclimates, including fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and winds that can have major effects on living in major cities.
The pigeons themselves come from local volunteers that raise them and who agree to work with the scientists.
‘If [the pigeon owners] are not happy with any aspect of putting the sensors on their back, then they don’t have to fly their birds,’ explains Rick Thomas, the research fellow who leads the study.
The welfare of the birds is utterly paramount and, they’re not likely to cause the same issues as drones, explained Thomas.
Drones are not allowed to fly freely in any area, particularly after the trouble a drone caused at Gatwick airport in December. What’s more, drone technology would not be as cost effective as what’s possible with the pigeons.
Thus far, the group’s band of pigeons have logged over 620 miles with their backpacks over the course of 41 flights.
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