died August 17, 1980
Pigeon Homing: The Orientation of Young Birds that had been Prevented from Seeing the Sun
Article first published online: 26 APR 2010
1987 Blackwell Verlag GmbH
Volume 76, Issue 1, pages 27–32, January-December 1987
How to Cite
Wiltschko, W., Wiltschko, R., Keeton, W. T. and Brown, A. I. (1987), Pigeon Homing: The Orientation of Young Birds that had been Prevented from Seeing the Sun. Ethology, 76: 27–32. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0310.1987.tb00669.x
- Issue published online: 26 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 26 APR 2010
- Recieved February 17, 1987; March 23, 1987
- Cited By
To test whether the sun is an essential factor for the development of a functioning orientation system in birds, a group of young pigeons was raised as ‘No-Sun’-birds. They were not allowed to see the sun, and they were released to fly around their loft only under total overcast. The control group had an equal number of opportunities to fly under overcast plus additional flights under sun.
When released as untrained birds under solid cloud cover, the ‘No-Sun’-birds were significantly oriented, whereas the controls were not. Small magnets glued between the wings (north toward the head) reversed the ‘No-Sun’-birds' orientation, indicating they used a magnetic compass.
These findings show that the orientation system can develop without information from the sun. Differences in the orientation behavior of the ‘No-Sun’-birds and normally raised young pigeons are discussed.