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Avian orientation at steep angles of inclination: experiments with migratory white-crowned sparrows at the magnetic North Pole
Responsible organisation
2001 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 268, no 1479, 1907-1913 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Earth’s magnetic field and celestial cues provide animals with compass information during migration. Inherited magnetic compass courses are selected based on the angle of inclination, making it difficult to orient in the near vertical fields found at high geomagnetic latitudes. Orientation cage experiments were performed at different sites in high Arctic Canada with adult and young white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii) in order to investigate birds’ ability to use the Earth’s magnetic field and celestial cues for orientation in naturally,,cry steep magnetic fields at and close to the magnetic North Pole. Experiments were performed during the natural period of migration at night in the local geomagnetic field under natural clear skies and under simulated total overcast conditions. The experimental birds failed to select a meaningful magnetic compass course under overcast conditions at the magnetic North Pole, but could do so in gcomagnetic fields deviating less than 3 degrees from the vertical. Migratory orientation was successful at all sites when celestial cues were available.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. Vol. 268, no 1479, 1907-1913 p.
Keyword [en]
orientation; migratory birds; magnetic compass; magnetic North Pole; white-crowned sparrow; Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-3253DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2001.1736OAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-3253DiVA: diva2:1049789
Available from: 2016-11-25 Created: 2016-11-21 Last updated: 2016-11-25

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Citation style
  • apa
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More styles
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  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
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  • asciidoc
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