How Do Pigeons Hear? 7 Facts You Should Know!

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How Do Pigeons Hear? 7 Facts You Should Know!

Communication relies heavily on hearing. It’s believed that birds have keen hearing. What we cannot hear, they can.

Pigeons use their ears to hear. Pigeons, however, lack the external ear structures humans do and only have ear openings on either side of their heads. Feathers hide the openings, keeping them undiscovered.

The specialized feathers that cover the bird’s ear openings can detect sound vibrations and direct them into the ear. This structure amplifies the sound, which travels through the bird’s head and into its brain.

So why not look into the various ways that pigeons can perceive sound?

Pigeons’ hearing frequency range

Avian hearing is highly developed despite not having any visible ears. So let us find out what pigeons’ hearing frequency is.

According to research on heart-rate conditioning, pigeons can hear infrasound with frequencies as low as 0.5 Hz. Additionally, between 1 Hz and 20 Hz, these birds can distinguish between very small frequency differences in sounds. Pigeons are also most sensitive to sound frequencies between 1 and 2 kHz.

Only a few other bird species and pigeons have this unique sensitivity to infrasound (and not all).

The hearing occurs in the cochlea. The cochlea is a straight or slender tube in birds that is 5mm long in pigeons—the greater the length of the tube, the better and wider the hearing capacity.

Do pigeons have ears?

Pigeons do have ears, just like people and other mammals do. But pigeon ears have openings resembling tunnels, just like lizard ears. In addition, their ears are concealed beside their eyes and are covered by auriculars, which are feathery flaps. 

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Three components make up a pigeon’s ear:

  • The external ear is a tiny opening.
  • The eardrum, middle ear
  • balancing and sensory receptors in the inner ear

Pigeons have a unique ear structure that allows them to hear sounds at much lower frequencies than humans. Pigeons can also locate the source of sound with great accuracy.

Do pigeons’ heads help them hear?

Image Credit: Head Pigeon by WEYENBERGH JACKY (CC0 1.0)

According to a new study, birds use their heads to listen to sounds. Is this also implemented for pigeons?

Pigeons’ heads aid in hearing. Indeed, the round of their head is the key to improved hearing. They transform sound waves with their round or slightly oval-shaped heads, which serve as their external ears. The pigeon head filters sound from various directions and measure these birds to determine their direction.

Can pigeons hear humans?

Pigeons can hear and recognize the human voice. 

Do pigeons hear music?

Recent research has shown that birds can replicate learned behaviors like songs. What about pigeons, though? Do they also hear music and react to it?

Music is audible to pigeons. In fact, according to experts, these urban birds enjoy listening to classical and instrumental music. They respond to vocal music as well.

Additionally, it has been discovered that music benefits lone wild pigeons. This is because they are relaxed by music. In this situation, music is frequently used to calm racing pigeons.

Can pigeons hear ultrasonic?

Image Credit: Head Pigeon by WEYENBERGH JACKY (CC0 1.0)

Ultrasonic sounds have a frequency of over 20 kHz. Can pigeons hear this frequency? 

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Pigeons cannot hear ultrasonic sounds. In actuality, these birds have human-like ultrasonic hearing. Additionally, there is no scientific basis for why these or any other birds would respond to ultrasonic sound devices.

The upper limits of bird hearing have been the subject of some debate. However, the most recent studies have shown that no birds can hear frequencies higher than 20 kHz. 

Summary

The conclusion is that pigeons have admirable hearing abilities. These urban birds can hear low-frequency sounds clearly and react to musical sounds. However, whether or not they can hear ultrasonic sounds is highly disputed.

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