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The influence of experience in orientation: GPS tracking of homing pigeons released over the sea after directional training


Dell'Ariccia, G; Dell'Omo, G; Lipp, H P (2009). The influence of experience in orientation: GPS tracking of homing pigeons released over the sea after directional training. Journal of Experimental Biology, 212(Pt 2):178-183.

Abstract

Flight experience is one of the factors that influences initial orientation of displaced homing pigeons (Columba livia). Prior studies showed a systematic dependence of initial orientation on previously flown direction. Using GPS data loggers, this study sought to examine the effect of previous directional training of 40 homing pigeons when they were released over the sea, in the absence of proximal landmarks, in a direction almost perpendicular to that of previous training flights. Our results demonstrated that previous directional training evoked a systematic and predicted deviation from the beeline over the sea that appeared as a compromise between the direction of training and the direction to the loft. Pigeons were able to efficiently correct their flight direction only once over land, where they flew significantly slower and less directly than over the sea.

Abstract

Flight experience is one of the factors that influences initial orientation of displaced homing pigeons (Columba livia). Prior studies showed a systematic dependence of initial orientation on previously flown direction. Using GPS data loggers, this study sought to examine the effect of previous directional training of 40 homing pigeons when they were released over the sea, in the absence of proximal landmarks, in a direction almost perpendicular to that of previous training flights. Our results demonstrated that previous directional training evoked a systematic and predicted deviation from the beeline over the sea that appeared as a compromise between the direction of training and the direction to the loft. Pigeons were able to efficiently correct their flight direction only once over land, where they flew significantly slower and less directly than over the sea.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:19 May 2009 14:22
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:13
Publisher:Company of Biologists
ISSN:0022-0949
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.024554
PubMed ID:19112136

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