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Polarized light cues underlie compass calibration in migratory songbirds

Muheim, Rachel LU ; Phillips, J B and Åkesson, Susanne LU (2006) In Science 313(5788). p.837-839
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.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Science
volume
313
issue
5788
pages
837 - 839
publisher
American Association for the Advancement of Science
external identifiers
  • pmid:16902138
  • wos:000239671300060
  • scopus:33747092301
ISSN
1095-9203
DOI
10.1126/science.1129709
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b216d886-5e80-425f-86fb-2e5c0c80c5ba (old id 159785)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 17:05:18
date last changed
2021-01-27 21:49:46
@article{b216d886-5e80-425f-86fb-2e5c0c80c5ba,
  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.},
  author       = {Muheim, Rachel and Phillips, J B and Åkesson, Susanne},
  issn         = {1095-9203},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5788},
  pages        = {837--839},
  publisher    = {American Association for the Advancement of Science},
  series       = {Science},
  title        = {Polarized light cues underlie compass calibration in migratory songbirds},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1129709},
  doi          = {10.1126/science.1129709},
  volume       = {313},
  year         = {2006},
}