Avian navigation: from historical to modern concepts

  title={Avian navigation: from historical to modern concepts},
  author={Roswitha Wiltschko and Wolfgang Wiltschko},
  journal={Animal Behaviour},
Studies on avian navigation began at the end of the 19th century with testing various hypotheses, followed by large-scale displacement experiments to assess the capacity of the birds' navigational abilities. In the 1950s, the first theoretical concepts were published. Kramer proposed his ‘Map-and-Compass’ model, assuming that birds establish the direction to a distant goal with the help of an external reference, a compass. The model describes homing as a two-step process, with the first step… 

Simulating pigeon navigation

Homing Pigeons Respond to Time-Compensated Solar Cues Even in Sight of the Loft

These results demonstrate that time-compensated solar cues are deeply embedded in the way birds orient during homing flight, are accessed throughout the journey and on a remarkably fine-grained scale, and may be combined effectively simultaneously with direct guidance from familiar landmarks, even when birds are flying towards a directly visible goal.

Magnetic maps in animal navigation

Recent findings indicate that sea turtles, salmon, and at least some birds imprint on the magnetic field of their natal area when young and use this information to facilitate return as adults, a process that may underlie long-distance natal homing (a.k.a. natal philopatry) in many species.

Loft features reveal the functioning of the young pigeon’s navigational system

Blocking light-dependent route-specific information during the first leg of an outward journey detour, together with analysis of pigeons that were raised under different loft conditions, allowed to correctly evaluate the functioning of the route-reversal mechanism and, more generally, the navigational map of birds.

Homing pigeons as a model for avian navigation

The findings on the navigational mechanisms of homing pigeons and the available data on those of wild birds, in particular migrants, are compared and it seems that birds share a common navigational system.

Large-scale navigational map in a mammal

Results provide evidence for a large-scale “cognitive map” that enables navigation of a mammal within its visually familiar area, and they also demonstrate the ability to home back when translocated outside the visuallyamiliar area.

Loft features influence the processing of navigational information by pigeons

Results suggest that loft features are an important factor in the ability of the young pigeons to exploit navigational cues, with adults vanishing quicker than younger birds.

The role of visual landmarks in the avian familiar area map

  • R. Holland
  • Biology
    Journal of Experimental Biology
  • 2003
It is proposed that extending a new technique for research on vision in homing to include manipulation of the compasses used by birds might be able to resolve the issue of whether homing pigeons use visual landmarks for orientation from distant, familiar sites.

Beyond familiar landmarks and integrated routes: goal-oriented navigation by birds

It is shown that trace gases are dispersed in the ground-level atmosphere with some regularity, including differently oriented gradients of ratios among certain hydrocarbons, and a preliminary navigation model is based on such long-range ratio gradients and on their relation to wind direction.



The Experimental Investigation of Navigation in Homing Pigeons

It was shown by experiment that pigeons do not depend on the interpretation of the earth9s magnetic field to be able to orientate in the training or in the home direction, and it is shown that a displacement recording mechanism based on time/acceleration measurements is extremely unlikely.

The Orientational and Navigational Basis of Homing in Birds

Navigation by homing pigeons: updated perspective

This study focuses on new results and improved insight into three constituents that basically characterize pigeon homing, and identifies three components that may modify or mask the directional output of the home-navigation system.

The roles of the sun and the landscape in pigeon homing.

The hypothesis that consistently reduced deflections and increased angular scatter occur only when pigeons are released in familiar areas where a remembered pattern of landscape features can conflict with the position of the sun is substantiated.

Inertial navigation as a basis for animal navigation

On a Wing and a Vector: a Model for Magnetic Navigation by Homing Pigeons.

  • Walker
  • Biology
    Journal of theoretical biology
  • 1998
A vector summation model is proposed which identifies a novel coordinate that pigeons could use with magnetic total intensity to determine position and makes predictions about the accuracy of homing and patterns of home orientation over local and regional scales.

A Preliminary Study of a Physical Basis of Bird Navigation

The bird navigation theory as presented implies an organ or organs in the bird's physiology which are sensitive to the effect of its motion through the vertical component of the earth's magnetic

Orientation by Pigeons: Is the Sun Necessary?

It is concluded that the sun is used as a compass when it is available, but that the pigeon navigation system contains sufficient redundancy to make accurate orientation possible in the absence of both the sun and familiar landmarks; the orientational cues used under such conditions do not require time compensation.