Have you ever wondered why do pigeons bob their head during their walk? Well, head bobbing refers to the rapid side-to-side movement of head, which is one of the most common behaviors seen in birds, especially in pigeons. While walking, pigeons move their heads up and down. But no such head movement is seen when they are standing still. Earlier, people used to believe that it is all about the physical connection present between the legs and heads of pigeons. However, scientists have proved that the reason lying behind the head-bobbing of the birds is quite different.
According to researchers, the movement of heads observed in pigeons is basically the result of certain visual stimulation rather than the physical ones. As they have one eye on each side of their heads, no stereoscopic vision is possible in them. Due to the presence of these sideways-looking eyes, birds have to see a particular thing from two different points and calculate the distance between two objects right after that.
But the entire task becomes easier as they move their heads to-and-fro during walk. It helps them possess a monocular vision, which eventually provides them a better perception of depth or distance between two objects.
When pigeons bob their heads, they experience an apparent motion between each two items surrounding them. Researchers have found that this motion is slow in case of remote objects while things that are not so distant move quite fast. This motion of objects help birds make their visual surroundings stable and determine the right distance between things. Conversely, pigeons do not need a monocular vision while standing still. Hence, they sop bobbing their heads during immobility.
Apart from judging distances, head bobbing helps pigeons in boosting their eyesight significantly. It is also helpful in maintaining the balance of the body during the movement.