Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Science. 2006 Aug 11;313(5788):837-9.

Polarized light cues underlie compass calibration in migratory songbirds.

Author information

1
Department of Animal Ecology, Lund University, Ecology Building, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden. rmuheim@vt.edu

Abstract

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., geographic) directional system that provides the primary calibration reference for all of the compasses of migratory songbirds.

PMID:
16902138
DOI:
10.1126/science.1129709
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center