An Italian researcher has shown that pigeons rely on their sense of smell to navigate. It was previously thought that they used variations in the Earth’s magnetic field why flying home. The research involved denying some birds use of their olfactory nerves, while others had nerves linked to magnetic detection severed. The birds without ability to smell became lost while most of the other pigeons returned home from a distance of 30 miles. Read the full story Pigeons’ homing instinct is all down to smell in the Observer.