By Hans G. Wallraff
How migratory birds can navigate domestic from their wintering grounds to their breeding websites over enormous quantities and hundreds of thousands of kilometres has been an widespread 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, in regards to the birds' program of a sunlight compass and a magnetic compass, of a visible topographical map inside a well-known region and -- such a lot unusually -- of an olfactory map utilizing atmospheric chemosignals as symptoms of place in far-off strange areas.
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Extra resources for Avian Navigation: Pigeon Homing as a Paradigm
Even if the released bird finally flies away, its vanishing bearing may be influenced by the initial detour it has made. Such observations and impressions cannot be evaluated as quantitative data. At some sites, however, outstanding modes of bearing distributions in the directions of neighbouring villages strongly suggest attraction of these villages (Sect. 2; Kiepenheuer 1993). 4 Accuracy of Homeward Orientation 45 n Fig. 21. Influence of human settlements (filled symbols) and wooded areas (open symbols) on vanishing bearings of pigeons released at 28 sites around their loft near Würzburg.
Heavy line shows means ± three-fold mean error of experience classes as indicated by Roman numerals; dashed line shows corresponding means with non-returners omitted. Insert gives percentages of birds per performance class for experience levels I–V. Data from 18 release sites: 8% from five sites about 11 km distant, 70% from eight sites at ca. 22 km, and 22% from five sites at ca. 44 km from the home loft in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. 2 Directions of Previous Homing Flights Spatio-temporally, experience gained during homing flights always includes an element of asymmetry.
In either case, the level of performance is correlated with ambient temperature. It should also be mentioned, however, that over longer distances Germany appears to be more advantageous for homing than Italy, probably due to other reasons (Sect. 4). Regional differences among various countries and continents have also been found in homing of more or less experienced pigeons (Fig. 4; Wiltschko et al. 1987d). As kind and degree of experience, keeping conditions, landscape characters and pigeon strains were also variable, however, the causes linked with geography cannot always be clearly separated from possible other causes.
Avian Navigation: Pigeon Homing as a Paradigm by Hans G. Wallraff