Companion and Urban Animals > Wild Animals > Wild Bird Index

The Urban Wildlife Society's
gee whiz animal quiz
answers at bottom of this page

1. What bird has been a domesticated friend to man longer than any other?

2. What animal has helped save so many people that you might not exist had one of your ancestors not been saved by one of them?

3. What animal is the traditional symbol of love and peace? (Be specific.)

4. What animals can routinely find their way home from strange places over hundreds or even thousands of miles away?

5. What winged creature can think abstractly, form concepts, recognize itself in a mirror, and commit images to memory many times faster than human beings?

6. What birds did Queen Victoria raise and love?

7. What animal formed a basis for Charles Darwin�s studies and later became his loving friends?

8. What animals did Picasso love so much he named his daughter after them?

9. What animal has Jimmy Smits grown to love, personally, because of the character he plays in the hit TV show NYPD Blue?

10. What kind of dove did Noah release from the ark? (Be specific)

11. What bird was used to take aerial photography?

12. What animal did Lockheed Aircraft Company use to send messages between facilities across Los Angeles in order to avoid traffic?

13. What bird has no sound for pain � and therefore suffers and dies in silence?

14. What animal has been revered for 12,000 years and, only in the last century, has been severely abused by man?

15. What bird brings life to an often otherwise bleak inner-city landscape?

16. What non-native bird inhabits areas without displacing native species?

17. What animal was used in Desert Storm to send messages that otherwise would not have gotten through due to intense radio jamming?

18. What was a favorite animal of the famous artists Picasso, Monet and Matisse?

19. What animals are encouraged to provide a fertilizer of choice for famous brands of champagne?

20. What is the common name for the Rock Dove?

21. What word in the dictionary means the same as the word "dove"?

22. What bird is falsely accused of spreading many diseases to people?

23. What birds feed milk to their babies?

24. What birds solved incredibly complex puzzles to become one of the two top birdbrains of England?

25. What bird is commonly sacrificed as nothing more than live targets placed in the sights at the end of a shotgun?

26. What bird adorns foods, beauty products, a famous bank, and credit cards worldwide? (Be specific)

27. What is one member of the dinosaur family who is still alive and well today?



1. Recent evidence shows that the Egyptians domesticated pigeons 12,000 years ago, some 7,000 years earlier than was previously thought.

2. Throughout history, pigeons have been used to carry lifesaving messages, and even medications, very quickly, over impassable terrain, and with a better than 98% success rate � and still do so in some parts of the world, today.

3. Only in recent times has the white colored pigeon become widely used as the symbol of love and peace, much like the portrayals of Jesus with light, straight hair and blue eyes. Neither are accurate representations of their traditional counterparts.

4. Pigeons are raced worldwide, which involves transporting them to places where they have never been, releasing them, and letting them find their way home. Despite extensive investigation and experimentation, science is still baffled by this uncanny ability.

5. Dr. Theodore Barber, Ph.D., states in The Human Nature of Birds, that scientific findings converge on three unexpected conclusions: 1. Birds have many abilities that humans assume are unique to humans, including musical ability (appreciation, composition, and performance), ability to form abstract concepts, ability to use intelligence flexibly to cope with constantly changing life demands, and ability to play with joy and mate erotically. 2. Although humans are superior to birds in certain kinds of intelligence (such as symbolic-linguistic intelligence), birds are superior to humans in other kinds of intelligence (such as navigational intelligence). 3. Birds are not only intelligent, aware, and willful; they also can communicate meaningfullywith humans and relate to them as close, caring friends. Investigations initiated by Professor Richard J. Herrnstein at the Harvard Psychological Laboratories yielded surprising results. Laboratory PIGEONS conceptualize at a high level of abstraction. Each PIGEON concept that was assessed in the laboratory was surprisingly as general and complete as typical concepts of humans. Laboratory PIGEONS also succeed at other tasks that were thought to be unique to humans or to primates. Laboratory PIGEONS learned to recognize each of the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet. It seemed odd to the researchers that the birds made the same kinds of initial mistakes as elementary school students. In brief, the prevalent notion that concepts are unique to humans is not valid. Laboratory birds have conceptualized what they were "requested" to conceptualize. It appears likely that birds in nature conceptualize everything that matters to them.
Epstein, Lanza and Skinner demonstrated that the pigeon passes the mirror test, making it one of only six species, and the only non-mammal, to recognize its reflection as an image of itself

6. In fact, much of the royalty throughout the world, starting with the Pharaohs of Egypt, maintained the prized birds in their royal pigeon lofts.

7. Charles Darwin used pigeons to formulate his theory of the evolution of species. As he worked with the birds, he developed a love for them. As a result, he could no longer kill and dissect the birds who had become his beloved companions.

8. Picasso loved pigeons so much, he named his daughter Paloma, which is Spanish for pigeon.

9. Jimmy Smits narrates, in a video entitled Man�s Oldest Feathered Friend, "Only in this century have [pigeons received] our ridicule instead of our respect. Few urban humans truly understand the beauty, bravery, and our shared history with these aerial wonders." In working with pigeons on his hit TV series, Jimmy Smits has developed a real affection for these birds.

10. According to legend, says folklorist Boria Sax of Pace University, "Noah sent out a raven that didn't come back and later a [pigeon] that returned with the olive branch, a sign of peace."

11. American and allied armed services released pigeons with cameras strapped to their bodies to take aerial photography during the First World War.

12. Isn�t it amazing that an aircraft company would use this natural form of airmail!

13. Pigeons are constantly and senselessly exterminated, shot, and tortured in huge numbers. One wonders if such cruelty would be so prevalent if pigeons could cry out loudly when purposely subjected to such excruciating pain.

14. See Jimmy Smits� quote in answer number 9, above.

15. Pigeons are uniquely adapted to life in the city. In many urban areas, children would not have contact with or appreciation of any wildlife were it not for pigeons.

16. Pigeons are benign residents. In fact, they lose their very lives to sustain endangered Peregrine Falcons, hawks, and other predators which would find it difficult, if not impossible, to survive without them.

17. In a world of high technology, sometimes the lowest technology is still the most successful.

18. Monet, Matisse, and Picasso all loved pigeons. A pigeon loft still exists in Monet's garden.

19. The next time you tip a glass of fine champagne, enjoy a bit of the essence of pigeon.

20. Most people don�t even know that a pigeon is a dove.

21. The words "dove" and "pigeon" are interchangeable. All pigeons are doves and all doves are pigeons.

22. State and local health departments report that there has never, ever, been even one case of any disease spread from pigeons to people throughout the history of Arizona. The same is true in California, New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and elsewhere. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the risk of getting a disease from a pigeon anywhere in the entire country is extremely rare.

23. Pigeons make "crop milk" to feed their babies. Scientists studied this to help make cows� milk better for people.

24. Researchers in England devised incredibly complex devices to test the intelligence of all types of birds. Pigeons came out on top.

25. Unfortunately, Arizona is one of only 4 states that allow the dove of love and peace to be trapped and shot for fun and profit.

26. Paul Mitchell, Dove soap, Dove Bars, Dove chocolate, the Bank of America, VISA credit cards, and many other companies adorn their products with the image of the pigeon.

27. Pigeons are dinosaurs. Birds are not just descended from dinosaurs -- they are dinosaurs. So, cast your gaze upward. You might just see the dinosaurs flying.

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