The pigeons and how they use their beaks to find their way

Considering the thousands of kilometers that a pigeon can fly, its nest can be seen only a tiny speck, if at all. However, pigeons can still find their way back home every time without any problems, even if they are flying in unfamiliar areas.

The pigeon, also known as Columba Livia, has served people for centuries with the help of their impressive navigation abilities. It is a well-known fact that pigeons were used as early as the year 1150 in Baghdad for message delivery, additionally, the founder of Reuters News Agency, Paul Reuter, used a fleet of 45 pigeons to transmit news of the stock market and bond prices between Brussels, Belgium and Aachen, Germany in the 1850's. It was this special ability that drew the attention of scientists to these amazing creatures. Despite decades of research and examination, it was only recently that scientists managed to discover that these amazing birds can find their way back home using their ability to perceive magnetic fields. Moreover, it was discovered that the magnetic positioning system which accurately gets the pigeons home every time, is located inside the bird's small beak.

How does the Magnetic System in the Pigeon's Beak Work?

The beaks of pigeons were examined in detail by scientists using a HASYLAB synchroton (a particle accelerator which moves electrons at the speed of light) in laboratories in Hamburg, Germany which revealed the following results:

There are iron-containing subcellular particles of maghemite and magnetite in sensory dendrites of the tissues which line the upper beak of homing pigeons and the fine fibers (dendrites) going to the sensory nerve cells of the tissues which covers the upper beak.

These dendrites are arranged in a complex three-dimensional pattern, with different spatial orientations designed to analyze the three components of the magnetic field vectors separately. They react to the Earth’s external magnetic field in a very sensitive and specific manner, thus acting as a three-axis magnetometer.

The cells with magnetite, after interacting with the magnetic field of the earth, transmit the data they obtain to nerves and these nerves in turn convert this data into electric impulses and send them to the brain so that they can be interpreted.

Due to the amazing interoperation between the systems of the pigeon, this bird is able to detect the location of its nest thousands of kilometers away, without any mistakes. Humans were able to build a similar system only after many years of work and research, and finally managed to produce three-axis magnetometers (a device used to measure and compare magnetic movements and the fluctuations of magnetic fields).

It is obvious that the perfect details in the structure of the pigeons beak are not the result of the buildup of unconscious atoms. The excellent structure of the beak is surely one of the evidences of All-mighty Allah’s wisdom and art of creation.  

What is the Purpose for The Crystals in Pigeons' Beaks?

Scientists examined pigeons beaks under various optical and electron microscopes. The findings of their research revealed amazing details. But what are these details that astonished the scientists so much?

The homing pigeon’s (Columbia Livia) upper beak has magnetite (SMP) crystals of only 5 microns in diameter (one micron is one in one thousandth of a millimeter; in comparison, the average human hair is roughly 100 microns thick).

Each magnetite SPM cluster is embedded inside small fiber boxes that open to the surface of the cell, and by the means of these small boxes, the magnetic clusters stick to the nerve fibers in a very sensitive way.

In addition to magnetic clusters, inside the beak, there is a second inorganic structure: this is the iron-phosphate layer with a nano-crystal structure, and is located where the nerve fibers end (it has a width and length of 500 nm (nanometer) and a maximum thickness of 100 nm).

The scientists discovered that the anatomic structures of these iron-phosphate layers in the end of the nerve fibers allowed the birds to detect even the slightest variations in the magnetic field of the earth.

All of these details that we explained so far, which are quite difficult to understand, are located in the beak of the pigeon. And not just that, they have amazing functions too. Their functions are so sensitive and accurate that the anatomy of these nerves can perceive even the slightest changes in the magnetic field of the earth.

Thinking deeply about these amazing details of pigeon beaks, will make it clear to any sound person that these cannot have come into being coincidentally as the evolutionists claim. On the contrary, these are the perfect evidences that it is the creation of All-mighty Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Our Lord explains this truth in a Quran verse as follows:


In your creation and in the creatures He created and spreaded (on the aboveground), there are verses for those who believe with an exact knowledge. (Surat al-Jathiyya, 4)

The Technology in Pigeon Beaks Leads the Way to Science

According to the scientists, a system that is built based on the pigeon’s amazing beak system, could lead to great advancements in technology. If a similar magnetic perception system is built:

Physicians would be able to make sure that  drugs affect only the desired parts of the body The magnetometers in  aircraft and space shuttles can be made smaller and even more accurate.


"I put my trust in Allah, My Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature, but He hath grasp of its fore-lock. Verily, it is my Lord that is on a straight Path(He protects the ones who are on the straight path.) "(Hud Surah, 56)

However, all of these technological possibilities  are just great ideas at the moment, because even though scientists have  discovered these natural magnetic receptors, they don’t have any idea as to how to produce them. But the homing pigeon, a small bird, is born equipped with these qualities, and it has been like this for millions of years, through the amazing creation of All-mighty Allah. Gerta Fleissner and her colleagues from Frankfurt University explain how desperate they look in their efforts to build a similar system when they see the amazing system in Allah’s creation:

„Even though birds have been producing these particles for millions of years, the main problem for scientists who want to find benefits from their use will be the technical production of these particles.”


The Superior Smelling Abilities of the Pigeons

Different type of pigeons have varying sizes of smelling regions and olfactory bulbs. Laboratory experiments showed that each bird showed a specific reaction to specific odors. The pigeons can find their way back to their nest, even if they are very far away, and use their sense of smell together with their sight to return home. It was shown many times that pigeons failed to find their way if their noses were blocked, thus preventing their breathing. It is thought that  pigeons utilize visual signs when they are near their nests, and odors carried by the winds when they are further away.

Even humans need the help of others to get back to their homes when they are in unfamiliar territory. Then what is it that makes  pigeons far superior than humans?  

The beaks of the homing pigeons could not have developed by coincidence as claimed by the evolutionists. Today’s science shows clearly that the baseless claims of Darwin are wrong, and nothing in nature can come into being coincidentally.

The experiments conducted on homing pigeons showed that the birds hovered one last time over their nests before they left, probably to memorize the landscape. In one experiment, opaque lens were carefully inserted in the eyes of the pigeons, which prevented them from seeing more than one or two meters distant.  However the birds were still able to find their nests. After that, some claimed that perhaps they found their way by sensing the Sun, but they could still make it to their nests even under cloudy weather conditions. They only lost their way when magnets that counteracted the magnetic effect of the earth were placed in their heads. This makes it clear that the guide of the birds is the magnetic field of the Earth. (David Attenborough, The Trials of Life, s.122)


2011-05-10 21:29:52

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