Bird-Brained Idea? Pigeons with Backpacks Help Fight Air Pollution

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LONDON — Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. Oh, well, we should have stopped at it’s a bird.

This could seem like a bird-brained idea: relying on a team of pigeons to carry out scientific studies on air quality. But that’s exactly what’s flying around London.

Meet… the Pigeon Air Patrol!

A flock of “superbirds,” armed with backpacks packed with sensors, are on a three-day mission to measure nitrogen dioxide in a city with some of the highest levels of air pollution in the world.

A live map brands areas of London with — fresh, moderate, high, very high or an extreme rating.

If all goes well in the UK, we wonder if this will fly some day in the US.

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