Homing pigeons are placed in a trainingprogram from about the time they are twenty-eight days of age. They are taughtto enter the cage through a trap and to exercise above and around the loft(鸽棚) , andgradually they are taken away for short distances in willow baskets andreleased. They are then expected to find their way home in the shortestpossible time.
In their training flights or in actualraces, the birds are taken to prearranged distant points and released to findtheir way back to their own lofts. Once the birds are liberated, their owners,who are standing by at the home lofts, anxiously watch the sky for the returnof their entries. Since time is of the essence, the speed with which the birdscan be induced to enter the loft trap may make the difference between gaining awin or a second place.
The head of a homing pigeon iscomparatively small, but its brain is one quarter larger than that of theordinary pigeon. The homing pigeon is very intelligent and will persevere tothe point of stubbornness; some have been known to fly a hundred miles offcourse to avoid a storm.
Some homing pigeon experts claim thatthis bird is gifted with a form of built-in radar that helps it find its ownloft after hours of flight, for hidden under the head feathers are two verysensitive ears, while the sharp, prominent eyes can see great distances indaytime.
Why do homing pigeons fly home? They arenot unique in this inherent skill; it is found in most migratory birds, inbees, ants, toads, and even turtles, which have been known to travel hundredsof miles to return to their homes. But in the animal world, the homing pigeonalone can be trusted with its freedom and trained to carry out the missionsthat people demand.
1. This passage is mainly about_______.
A. homing pigeons and their training
B. how to buy a homing pigeon
C. protection of homing pigeons againstthe threat of extinction
D. liberation of homing pigeons
2. According to the passage, whathappens to homing pigeons when they are about a month old?
A. They are kept in a trap.
B. They enter their first race.
C. They begin a training program.
D. They get their wings clipped andmarked.
3. According to the passage, thedifference between a homing pigeon and an ordinary one is_______.
A. the span of the wings B. the shape ofthe eyes
C. the texture of the feathers D. thesize of the brain
4. The author mentions all of thefollowing attributes that enable a homing pigeon to
return home EXCEPT_______.
A. instinct B. air sacs
C. sensitive ears D. good eyes
5. Why does the author mention bees,ants, toads, and turtles in the last paragraph?
A. To describe some unusual kinds ofpets.
B. To measure distances traveled byvarious animals.
C. To compare their home-findingabilities with those of homing pigeons.
D. To interest the reader in learningabout other animals.