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Authors: Gagliardo, A.* 
Savini, M.* 
De Santis, A.* 
Dell’Omo, G.* 
Ioalè, P.* 
Title: Re-orientation in clock-shifted homing pigeons subjected to a magnetic disturbance: a study with GPS data loggers
Issue Date: Dec-2009
Series/Report no.: 2/64 (2009)
DOI: 10.1007/s00265-009-0847-x
Keywords: Pigeons
Sun compass
Magnetic compass
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.08. Instruments and techniques 
04. Solid Earth::04.05. Geomagnetism::04.05.09. Environmental magnetism 
Abstract: Some authors have proposed that homing pigeons are able to correct the error in orientation following a phase-shift treatment by using the magnetic compass reference. They reported that clock-shifted pigeons bearing magnets display a greater deflection compared to magnetically unmanipulated clock-shifted birds. However, this hypothesis tested by recording pigeons’ vanishing bearings has led to contradictory results. The present study reports pigeons’ tracks recorded with a GPS and shows that clockshifted pigeons bearing magnets displayed a greater deviation through the whole route compared to the magnetically unmanipulated shifted pigeons. Moreover, the analysis of the tracks shows that the birds belonging to both experimental groups stop in coincidence with their subjective night. When re-starting their journey, the birds corrected the clock-shift induced error in orientation, but the magnetically manipulated pigeons were less efficient in doing so. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that homing pigeons released from unfamiliar location re-orient after clock shift by using the magnetic compass.
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