Based on the incredible flying abilities of pigeons, stories about their winged performance have been greatly inflated over the years. For example, pigeons have a remarkable ability to find their way home, but not from halfway around the world -- as legend would have it. The truth is still impressive. Pigeons are able to navigate home across hundreds of miles using the sun, the Earth's magnetic field and landmarks such as tall buildings.
There are also many tall tales about pigeons traveling more than a thousand miles in one day -- sometimes many thousands. This is an exaggeration. The truth is that racing pigeons fly between 40 and 50 miles (64 and 80 kilometers) per hour, with the top performers covering a maximum of about 600 miles (966 kilometers) in a single day, according to the Solar Center at Stanford University. So while these stats are remarkable, pigeons are not the superheroes that many mythmakers would have you believe.