Fun Pigeon Facts: Super Vision

Funny British TV quiz show Quite Interesting hosted by Stephen Fry, covered before on Neatorama here, also has a weekly column on Telegraph. Today's column, about strange animal facts, is particularly ... well, interesting. Take for example the humble pigeon:

To keep alive in the wild, a pigeon needs to keep its eyes open for predators. Having eyes on the side of its head gives it a field of view of 340 degrees and, in order to fly at speed, its brain can process visual information three times faster than a human's. If a pigeon watched a feature film, 24 frames per second would appear to it like a slide presentation. They would need at least 75 frames per second to create the illusion of movement on screen. (This is why pigeons seem to leave it until the very last second to fly out of the way of an oncoming car: it appears much less fast to them.)

Link - Thanks violet/riga!

If you like QI's article, you'd probably get a kick out of Neatorama's 30 Strangest Animal Mating Habits


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This is why pigeons seem to leave it until the very last second to fly out of the way of an oncoming car: it appears much less fast to them.

I doubt that's the reason. People and animals has an innate and instinctual sense of physics and calculus (that's why you can do things like catch an object thrown at you, even if you don't consciously understand the math of an object in flight). Having more frames per second isn't going to make something appear to be going at a different velocity. If it did, pigeons would be very uncoordinated, because their sense of physics would be off.

Probably it has to do with the fact that more frames per second = more information = a better sense of exactly how fast the car is going and how long until the pigeon needs to fly away.
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Quite interesting :p Pigeons were featured on the show itself too with some quite ingenious ways the military tried to use them to aim bombs in the past!
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For convenience, until the post is corrected, here's the link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/portal/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/portal/2007/09/22/nosplit/ftqifront122.xml
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