WATCH: Can Birds *Really* Send Messages?

4 MAY 2015

Much of the wheeling and dealing that keeps the political cogs turning in George R. R. Martin's World of Ice and Fire series is facilitated in some part by the clever messenger ravens that cover great distances to deliver clandestine missives throughout the seven kingdoms. Without messenger ravens, there would be no nefarious plots and creepy arranged marriages in Game of Thrones, which actually puts the whole story at odds with science, as the latest episode of AsapSCIENCE discusses.


While undoubtedly intelligent, ravens don't have much motivation to be helping us out with our correspondence. Even the best treats in the world aren't going to convince one to drop everything and fly a note halfway across the world. But pigeons, on the other hand? They're actually great at delivering messages. So great, that some 3,000 years ago, carrier pigeons were actually used to announce the winners of the Olympic Games. 

So why are pigeons so great at delivering messages? It all comes down to their reproductive biology - no matter where you take them, they will always find a way to return to their nests to mate. As the video above explains, they have an innate homing device that allows them to find their nests even from a whopping 1,800 kilometres away. But this means that they can generally only send messages in one direction: the direction of their nest.

But there is actually a sneaky way to get pigeons to deliver messages both ways. And you're gonna have to watch the latest episode of AsapSCIENCE above to find out.

You know nothing, Jon Snow.