Homing pigeons’ inbuilt ’satnav’ that uses Earth’s magnetic field helps them return home

June 24th, 2009 - 4:27 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 24 (ANI): Homing pigeons have fascinated humans for many years through their uncanny ability to find their way home from thousands of miles away. Now, researchers claim to have found the reason behind it.

Scientists researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand said that the birds have inbuilt ’satnav’ that uses Earth’s magnetic field to pinpoint position and help them find their way home.

Researchers have discovered that like global positioning technology, they first determine where they are before heading off for home, reports The Telegraph.

In the study, which has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, boffins discovered that the initial flight path involves finding the magnetic waves which can then be used to find their way home.

In order to reach the conclusion, researchers reviewed a number of studies in Germany that saw as many 150 birds returning to three lofts near Frankfurt.

Dr Cordula Mora and her colleagues concluded that “respond to the Earth’s magnetic field at the release site”, calculate their position using the fields and then calculate their way home.

“Our results imply that pigeons use the earth’s magnetic field for determining their position at the release site before laying a course for home,” she said. (ANI)

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