By Hans G. Wallraff
How migratory birds can navigate domestic from their wintering grounds to their breeding websites over hundreds of thousands and hundreds of thousands of kilometres has been an prominent secret over greater than a century. Profound advances in the direction of an answer of this challenge were completed with a version poultry, the homing pigeon. This monograph summarizes our present wisdom approximately pigeon homing, concerning the birds' software of a sunlight compass and a magnetic compass, of a visible topographical map inside of a well-recognized zone and -- such a lot unusually -- of an olfactory map utilizing atmospheric chemosignals as signs of place in far away unusual areas.
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Extra resources for Avian navigation : pigeon homing as a paradigm
Initial orientation of first-flight pigeons at different latitudes. Black bars give second-order mean homeward components, white bars lengths of second-order mean compass vectors (directions as indicated). A Vanishing bearings at four symmetrical release sites 20–31 km distant around each of six home lofts. Small triangles Long-term annual mean of air temperature in the respective region (scale above). B Corresponding data from two lofts showing means not only of vanishing bearings (Van) but also of bearings observed 20 and 40 s after release (scale as in A).
Even the mean course of a sample of birds deviates, in most cases, more or less from the beeline direction towards home. Some aspects of these inaccuracies (release-site biases, PCD, temporal variability) have already been described and discussed. A few more aspects will be added in this section. 1 Distance of Displacement Schmidt-Koenig (1966,1970) found,in very experienced pigeons,a clear correlation of the initial homeward component with distance from home around two lofts, one in Durham, North Carolina (USA), and one in Frankfurt am Main (Germany).
Several expectations linked with the first possibility have been tested: (1a) The bird’s motivation to home might fluctuate with its hormonal state and breeding cycle. The fact that the maxima of the two cycles are greatly out of phase (Fig. 17B: April versus August) argues against this possibility. Further, considerably increased breeding activity in winter, induced by an artificially lengthened photoperiod in the loft, did not induce improved homing perfor- n Fig. 16. Homing performance in 12 analogous experiments with first-flight pigeons released at a site 22 km northwest of the home loft in Wilhelmshaven (days means homed after the day of release; never means never returned).
Avian navigation : pigeon homing as a paradigm by Hans G. Wallraff
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