By Hans G. Wallraff
How migratory birds can navigate domestic from their wintering grounds to their breeding websites over enormous quantities and millions of kilometres has been an in demand secret over greater than a century. Profound advances in the direction of an answer of this challenge were completed with a version fowl, the homing pigeon. This monograph summarizes our present wisdom approximately pigeon homing, concerning the birds' software of a solar compass and a magnetic compass, of a visible topographical map inside of a well-known region and -- such a lot unusually -- of an olfactory map utilizing atmospheric chemosignals as signs of place in far-off surprising areas.
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Extra resources for Avian Navigation: Pigeon Homing as a Paradigm
17B). Thus, the birds would have to be sensitive to short-term fluctuations at a fairly high temperature level in autumn and insensitive at a lower level in spring. Keeping pigeons for 1–4 h before release at a temperature between –20 and –30 °C had no effect on initial orientation and homing performance (Wallraff 1960). 40 3 Basic Features of Pigeon Homing n Fig. 18. Annual cycles of homeward component of vanishing bearings (A) and homing performance (B) in experiments over 15–25 km at four loft sites, two in northern Germany (Wilhelmshaven and Göttingen), one in southern Germany (near Munich) and one in Italy (near Pisa).
G. gradients) of environmental signals that are required to develop a navigational map. Thus, testing of whether free flights at home are a precondition for longdistance navigation was one of the early experiments on pigeon homing (Kramer and von Saint Paul 1954). g. Such aviary pigeons got their very first opportunity to fly in the free air space when they were tossed into the air, at an age of 4–6 months, at a release site far distant from home. It is not surprising that many of these unpractised fli- n Fig.
Sample sizes are given inside the circles: number of bearings/vectors (= included sites). (Data in this form unpublished) ings seems to reflect not only external and internal circumstances controlling the reachable level of navigational performance but also the bird’s impetus to fly towards home. Pigeons with an apparently weaker homing drive showed poorer initial orientation (Fig. 6Ba,Bb). In releases over shorter distances, not only homing success but also homing speed can be considered. Most of the pigeons homing fast from a given site were well homeward oriented already at departure, whereas among the slow 26 3 Basic Features of Pigeon Homing homers and the never returned pigeons many had started towards wrong directions.