But they ignore stop signs

"It really knocked our research team sideways," Tim Guilford told journalists in Britain. What did? Why, the discovery by scientists at Oxford University that homing pigeons rarely navigate - as long suspected - by taking their bearings from the sun. The Oxford folks spent 10 years studying the birds, aided by global positioning satellite technology. So, how do the critters find their way, then? Unless flying a great distance or along a route for the first time, Guilford said, they follow turnpikes, roads, and streets - even the curve of a traffic circle - on the ground, just as people in cars do. And, yes, that's the case even if it happens to add uncecessary miles that could be saved by cutting cross-country. "In short," he said, "they are just making their journey as simple as possible."

Taking them in stride: US's most walkable small towns

College, resort, and historically important communities - especially in the Northeast - dominate a recent list of the most walkable small towns in the US. The online information site surveyed areas with populations of between 2,500 and 10,000 residents, ranking them by the percentage of respondents who say they hoof it to work. The top 10 foot-friendly towns:

1. Canadea, N.Y.
2. Alfred, N.Y.
3. Houghton, Mich.
4. Oberlin, Ohio
5. Lewisburg, Pa.
6. Gettysburg, Pa.
7. Mansfield, Pa.
8. Hamilton, N.Y.
9. Swarthmore, Pa.
10. Selinsgrove, Pa.

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