Orientation of pigeons exposed to constant light and released from familiar sites

Physiology & Behavior
P Dall'Antonia, P Luschi

Abstract

It has been proposed that homing pigeons may use pilotage to orient home when released from familiar sites. To test this possibility, a group of pigeons was released from familiar locations after being exposed to a constant bright light. This treatment produced the loss of the circadian rhythmicity of general activity of the birds and thus presumably impaired their time-compensating sun compass mechanism. Experimental birds, both anosmic and olfactorily unimpaired, did not show any tendency to orient home, their bearing distributions being generally not different from random. Their homing performances were also affected. These results show that initial orientation of pigeons released from familiar sites entails the use of the sun compass even when the birds are released after a treatment that makes them arrhythmic in their activity. The possibility that pilotage may play a role in the first part of the homing flight of pigeons remains to be demonstrated.

References

Aug 1, 1988·Journal of Comparative Physiology. A, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology·H YamadaS Ebihara
May 1, 1965·Journal of Theoretical Biology·J T Enright
May 12, 2005·Journal of Comparative Physiology. A, Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology·W Wiltschko, R Wiltschko
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Citations

Jul 1, 1997·Behavioural Processes·S Benhamou
Jul 23, 2004·Current Biology : CB·Hans-Peter LippG Dell'Omo
Apr 21, 2009·Hormones and Behavior·Bengt SilverinBarbara Helm

Related Concepts

Metazoa
Circadian Rhythms
Homing Behavior
Light
Psychological Orientation
Columba livia
Mental Recall
Smell Perception

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