In this video segment from WILD TV, we learn that pigeons were domesticated around 4500 B.C. and used to deliver messages in the days of Caesar. They were brought to North America in 1606. While pigeons are wild animals, they rely on humans for their survival in cities. Many pigeons thrive in urban centers by eating scrap foods from people. Historically, pigeons made their homes in cliffs on the European coasts but today they can be found living in the eaves and on ledges of tall buildings. They have an incredible homing instinct, which means they can fly far away and still find their way back to their home. Scientist do not yet understand how this homing instinct works.
Animal science, environmental science
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for elementary or middle school students using this video in an English language arts or science lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) What data, facts and ideas do you already know and have about pigeons?
Focus (ELA) What new information do you learn about pigeons as you view this video?
Follow Up (ELA) How did what you already knew about pigeons help you understand the new information you learned about pigeons from watching this video? For example, how did learning about the history of pigeons add to your understandings about how and where pigeons survive and thrive today?
Frame (SCI) What do pigeons need to survive in a city?
Focus (SCI) How do people and pigeons help each other in their daily lives in a big city?
Follow Up (SCI) How might changes in the pigeons’ environment affect their patterns of behavior? For example, how might pollution, temperature change or change in the sanitation practices of a large city affect a pigeon’s behavior and ability to survive? If there were no more pigeons in cities, how might that affect people? How might their patterns of behavior change?
IVAN: Pigeons originally made their homes in cliffs, in craggy cliffs over on the coast of Europe, and now they make their homes on tall buildings.
IVAN: Pigeons came to North America, actually. The French brought them over here to Nova Scotia in 1606, soon after they either escaped or were released. So they’re wild animals but at the same time they rely on human beings and they thrive in urban centers.
IVAN: And you know and anybody in any city knows that their mainly eating ice cream and hot dog buns, old donuts and stuff like that. And hey there’s a lot of that around. So there’s a lot of pigeons around. In fact even the Egyptians were using pigeons for food.
IVAN: Yeah. Pigeons were even domesticated as early as 4500 B.C.E. So 4500 years before zero there were pigeons living as domesticated birds.
IVAN: You always hear the stories about pigeons delivering messages. They were used for delivering messages as far back as Caesar. So they have an incredible homing instinct and you know, still today, no one really knows how it works.
WALI: This way!
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