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Orientation of Snow Buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) close to the Magnetic North Pole

Sandberg, Roland LU ; Bäckman, Johan LU and Ottosson, Ulf LU (1998) In Journal of Experimental Biology 201(12). p.1859-1870
Abstract
Orientation experiments were performed with first-year

snow buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) during their autumn

migration in a natural near-vertical geomagnetic field

approximately 400 km away from the magnetic north pole.

Migratory orientation of snow buntings was recorded using

two different techniques: orientation cage tests and freeflight

release experiments. Experiments were performed

under clear skies, as well as under natural and simulated

complete overcast. Several experimental manipulations

were performed including an artificial shift of the E-vector

direction of polarized light, depolarization of incoming

light and a 4 h slow... (More)
Orientation experiments were performed with first-year

snow buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) during their autumn

migration in a natural near-vertical geomagnetic field

approximately 400 km away from the magnetic north pole.

Migratory orientation of snow buntings was recorded using

two different techniques: orientation cage tests and freeflight

release experiments. Experiments were performed

under clear skies, as well as under natural and simulated

complete overcast. Several experimental manipulations

were performed including an artificial shift of the E-vector

direction of polarized light, depolarization of incoming

light and a 4 h slow clock-shift experiment. The amount of

stored fat proved to be decisive for the directional

selections of the buntings. Fat individuals generally chose

southerly mean directions, whereas lean birds selected

northerly headings. These directional selections seemed to

be independent of experimental manipulations of the

buntings’ access to visual cues even in the local near-vertical

magnetic field. Under clear skies, the buntings

failed to respond to either a deflection of the E-vector

direction of polarized light or an experimental

depolarization of incoming skylight. When tested under

natural as well as simulated overcast, the buntings were

still able to select a meaningful mean direction according

to their fat status. Similarly, the free-flight release test

under complete overcast resulted in a well-defined

southsoutheast direction, possibly influenced by the

prevailing light northwest wind. Clock-shift experiments

did not yield a conclusive result, but the failure of these

birds to take off during the subsequent free-flight release

test may indicate some unspecified confusion effect of the

treatment. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
bird, migration, orientation, magnetic north pole, Plectrophenax nivalis, snow bunting
in
Journal of Experimental Biology
volume
201
issue
12
pages
1859 - 1870
publisher
The Company of Biologists Ltd
external identifiers
  • scopus:2642710917
ISSN
1477-9145
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b0a5f9e0-01fe-4159-bba3-805425de4089 (old id 1857032)
alternative location
http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/reprint/201/12/1859
date added to LUP
2011-03-17 16:44:30
date last changed
2017-08-06 03:48:47
@article{b0a5f9e0-01fe-4159-bba3-805425de4089,
  abstract     = {Orientation experiments were performed with first-year<br/><br>
snow buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) during their autumn<br/><br>
migration in a natural near-vertical geomagnetic field<br/><br>
approximately 400 km away from the magnetic north pole.<br/><br>
Migratory orientation of snow buntings was recorded using<br/><br>
two different techniques: orientation cage tests and freeflight<br/><br>
release experiments. Experiments were performed<br/><br>
under clear skies, as well as under natural and simulated<br/><br>
complete overcast. Several experimental manipulations<br/><br>
were performed including an artificial shift of the E-vector<br/><br>
direction of polarized light, depolarization of incoming<br/><br>
light and a 4 h slow clock-shift experiment. The amount of<br/><br>
stored fat proved to be decisive for the directional<br/><br>
selections of the buntings. Fat individuals generally chose<br/><br>
southerly mean directions, whereas lean birds selected<br/><br>
northerly headings. These directional selections seemed to<br/><br>
be independent of experimental manipulations of the<br/><br>
buntings’ access to visual cues even in the local near-vertical<br/><br>
magnetic field. Under clear skies, the buntings<br/><br>
failed to respond to either a deflection of the E-vector<br/><br>
direction of polarized light or an experimental<br/><br>
depolarization of incoming skylight. When tested under<br/><br>
natural as well as simulated overcast, the buntings were<br/><br>
still able to select a meaningful mean direction according<br/><br>
to their fat status. Similarly, the free-flight release test<br/><br>
under complete overcast resulted in a well-defined<br/><br>
southsoutheast direction, possibly influenced by the<br/><br>
prevailing light northwest wind. Clock-shift experiments<br/><br>
did not yield a conclusive result, but the failure of these<br/><br>
birds to take off during the subsequent free-flight release<br/><br>
test may indicate some unspecified confusion effect of the<br/><br>
treatment.},
  author       = {Sandberg, Roland and Bäckman, Johan and Ottosson, Ulf},
  issn         = {1477-9145},
  keyword      = {bird,migration,orientation,magnetic north pole,Plectrophenax nivalis,snow bunting},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {12},
  pages        = {1859--1870},
  publisher    = {The Company of Biologists Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Experimental Biology},
  title        = {Orientation of Snow Buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) close to the Magnetic North Pole},
  volume       = {201},
  year         = {1998},
}