Pigeon Air Patrol

Following illegal and deadly levels of pollution in the city of London over the past several years, a flock of six pigeons dubbed the Pigeon Air Patrol were released to record air quality and promote awareness. The project, which took place in 2016, was proposed by Pierre Duquesnoy of DigitasLBi and actualized by pigeon enthusiast Brian Woodhouse. Of the six pigeons, one had a 25g air pollution sensor, while the other had a GPS tracker. The sensor recorded nitrogen dioxide produced by Metro London traffic, and then tweeted results. The results then effectively created an air pollution map of the city, helping to shed light for public officials and citizens alike of the stark problem their city faces. Pigeons were selected as the perfect candidates for the job of recording such traffic emissions given their ability to maneuver the roads with ease. The use of urban animals to collect data, while conversation-worthy, is questionable from an ethical standpoint. Despite the claim that sensors do not interfere with the pigeons’ ability to fly, it is still considered an impediment to their autonomy as non-humans.

Academic Reference: Kaur, P., Singh, P., & Singh, K. (2019). “Air pollution detection using modified triangular mutation based particle swarm optimization“.


Biodiversity, Data, Ecological Modelling, Ecological Monitoring, Monitoring, Pollution, Psychology