Harry Marshall the producer of Paranormal Pigeons says pigeons are the key to unlocking this mystery of the great migration animals. They are able to return to their lofts even when they’ve been released in an unfamiliar location hundreds of miles away.
Can we find out why do animals migrate and how can birds migrate without losing them selfs in the process?
Dr. Tim Guilford of Oxford University thinks they do it by using visual landmarks. Guilford, himself a champion paraglider, says: “When you’re flying you realize that what is normally a three-dimensional landscape becomes very two dimensional, almost map-like.I think that’s the way the birds that are migration see the world.” He and his colleagues have attached GPS devices to pigeons that log their birdmigration. Using Ordnance Survey maps it appears that pigeons do seem to follow major routes, like roads, back home. When they’ve been released in an unfamiliar location, the pigeon’s circle, before flying to an obvious landmark like a church and picking up their normal route again. Even though Guilford’s findings back up this suggestion, more than 30 years ago it was shown that pigeons wearing opaque contact lenses could still find their way home. No one knows how birds like the Arctic tern can migrate around the globe without ever knowing the place they’re headed for.
Do all the animals that migrate have some kind of magnetism for that makes their migration safe and fast?
Professor Wolfgang and Dr. Roswitha Wiltschko of Frankfurt University believe that birds can migrate without losing them self because of magnetism. They claim that migratory birds, the pigeons have a compass in their eye and a magnetometer in their beak to measure the intensity of the earth’s magnetic field, and thus whether they are north or south of home. Roswitha says: “You know when you are standing upright and I think it’s something similar to that”. The pair could be on to something. In Science, Dr. Kenneth Lohmann, from the University of North Carolina, published evidence that suggested baby turtles, the great migration animals, navigate through the Sargasso Sea using a magnetic map. He exposed loggerhead turtles to a magnetic field generated by an electric coil that mimicked the earth’s magnetic field at three key locations along their route.
When the animals that migrate, the turtles were exposed to a field like the one that occurs near Portugal, the turtles paddled south, which is what they would have done if they really been swimming in the area, this is their Animal Migration Map.
Is there another way that animals know their location while migrating and is there a migration map that animals use?
Dr. Anna Gagliardo believes that migration pigeons navigate by smell. Gagliardo, from the University of Pisa, claims the birds that migrate follow scents blown in on the winds. Harry Marshall agrees. “It’s not about following a scent trail,” he says. “Each landscape has its own olfactory signature. The birds then remember where these lie in relation to each other, like a patchwork of odors.” Gagliardo has some convincing evidence to back up her claims. She raised two groups of pigeons in sheds made of chicken wire, one of which had glass put round it so that any wind blowing in had to come in through the top. The migration pigeons in the open did weary good in the migration.
The encased migration pigeons in the glass had the wind and smell but did not know which scent had come from which direction. Gagliardo then released the pigeons over a lake so that they would not have any landmarks to use as guides. The pigeons who had been in the glass-enclosed shed were not able to find their way home, but those who had been in the other shed were able to.