A Tribute To The Proud And Peaceful Pigeon
B. F. Skinner thought pigeons were so smart they could be used to guide missiles during World War II. He proposed a system in which pigeons would essentially pilot a missile. Skinner said pigeons could be trained to peck at a screen to adjust the trajectory of the missile toward its target. Project Pigeon was funded but never used.
In 2013, New York conceptual artist Duke Reilly trained half his flock of pigeons to carry contraband cigars from Cuba to Florida and the other half to carry tiny video cameras documenting the smuggling flight of their comrades.
Another group of researchers trained pigeons to reliably distinguish between the paintings of Picasso and Monet, even if they had never seen a particular painting before.
This hour, everything you ever wanted to know about pigeons but were afraid to ask.
- Yoni Applebaum - A social and cultural historian
- Andrew Blechman - Author of Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird
- Wanda Corn - The Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor Emerita in the department of art and art history at Stanford University
- Patrick Skahill - Senior reporter at Connecticut Public
Colin McEnroe, Jonathan McNicol, and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired November 12, 2013.