Polarized Light Cues Underlie Compass Calibration in Migratory Songbirds

@article{Muheim2006PolarizedLC,
  title={Polarized Light Cues Underlie Compass Calibration in Migratory Songbirds},
  author={Rachel Muheim and John B Phillips and Susanne {\AA}kesson},
  journal={Science},
  year={2006},
  volume={313},
  pages={837 - 839}
}
Migratory songbirds use the geomagnetic field, stars, the Sun, and polarized light patterns to determine their migratory direction. To prevent navigational errors, it is necessary to calibrate all of these compass systems to a common reference. We show that migratory Savannah sparrows use polarized light cues from the region of sky near the horizon to recalibrate the magnetic compass at both sunrise and sunset. We suggest that skylight polarization patterns are used to derive an absolute (i.e… 
Magnetic compass of migratory Savannah sparrows is calibrated by skylight polarization at sunrise and sunset
Migratory birds use compass systems derived from the geomagnetic field, the stars, the sun and polarized light patterns. We tested whether birds use a single underlying reference system for
Contradictory results on the role of polarized light in compass calibration in migratory songbirds
Experiments with migrating birds on the interaction between magnetic and celestial cues have produced heterogeneous results. A recent study claimed that the magnetic compass in passerine migrants is
Not all songbirds calibrate their magnetic compass from twilight cues: a telemetry study
TLDR
It is reported that free-flying European migrants, song thrushes Turdus philomelos, released after pre-exposure to a horizontally rotated magnetic field, do not recalibrate their magnetic compass from solar cues, but rather show a simple domination of either the magnetic or the stellar compass.
White-throated sparrows calibrate their magnetic compass by polarized light cues during both autumn and spring migration
TLDR
There is no evidence for a difference in compass hierarchy between different phases of migration, confirming previous work showing that polarized light cues near the horizon at sunrise and sunset provide the primary calibration reference both in the beginning and at the end of migration.
A hierarchy of compass systems in migratory birds
Migratory birds use several different sources of orientation information. They have at least three compass systems based on different cues: the sun and polarized light, the stars and their
Avian orientation: multi-cue integration and calibration of compass systems
TLDR
It is suggested that the conflicting results reported by different authors are due to genuine variation among species and pro - pose hypotheses to explain this variation.
Response of a free-flying songbird to an experimental shift of the light polarization pattern around sunset
TLDR
It is shown that both the experimental and the control birds being released after nautical twilight departed consistently towards south-southeast, a lacking difference in the departure direction of both groups may suggest that birds did not recalibrate any of the compass systems during the experiment.
Feasibility of sun and magnetic compass mechanisms in avian long-distance migration
TLDR
The feasibility of different compass routes varies greatly with latitude, migratory direction, migration season, and geographic location.
Polarized skylight does not calibrate the compass system of a migratory bat
TLDR
This observation argues against the use of a polarization-calibrated magnetic compass by this migratory bat and questions that the ability of using polarized light for navigation is a consistent feature in bats.
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