Funny Story: My good friend Johnny Mack “Macklemore” was innocently walking to class a few days ago minding his own business and jamming to some tunes, when a seriously lost pigeon flew into him. Yeah apparently that can happen.
More to the point however, upon hearing this woeful tale I decided to delve into the ultra-fascinating topic, and research pigeon face recognition because why not?
According to an article on the Science Daily website, pigeons display “remarkable feats of perception” and do in fact have the ability of facial recognition. In the study (or my watered down version of the study) two researchers of similar age, height, build and color fed the birds multiple times. One researcher fed the birds taking no additional actions, while the other displayed a more hostile manner and chased the birds around. After several repeats of this experiment the birds started recognizing the researcher who was just feeding them and would avoid the other one, even after several days and clothing changes.
Seriously though, this is genuinely true. Look it up if you don’t believe me. But next time a pigeon flies by and poops on you just remember they probably did it on purpose because you wouldn’t throw a french fry his way the last time you were at McDonalds. Perhaps Hitchcock was on to something. Maybe he was sending out a preemptive warning to us. Really though the pigeons are probably just seeking revenge for all that letter carrying we made them do back in the day.
So next time you are walking around use caution, because they never forget a face. But hey, on the bright side now you can say you learned something new today!