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Abstract and Summary

Since birds use the earth's magnetic field for compass orientation when astronomical cues are lacking and it has recently been suggested that the pineal body is part of their magnetic compass, test releases have been performed in overcast conditions with pigeons deprived of the pineal body. On the whole, both experimental and control birds were capable of homeward orientation, though the bearings of experimental were rather more scattered. No differences in homing speed or success were recorded. Thus, the pineal body does not appear to play an important role in the homing of pigeons.