Kishkinev, D, Heyers, D, Woodworth, BK, Mitchell, GW, Hobson, KA and Norris, DR (2016) Experienced migratory songbirds do not display goal-ward orientation after release following a cross-continental displacement: an automated telemetry study. UNSPECIFIED.

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The ability to navigate implies that animals have the capability to compensate for geographical displacement and return to their initial goal or target. Although some species are capable of adjusting their direction after displacement, the environmental cues used to achieve this remain elusive. Two possible cues are geomagnetic parameters (magnetic map hypothesis) or atmospheric odour-forming gradients (olfactory map hypothesis). In this study, we examined both of these hypotheses by surgically deactivating either the magnetic or olfactory sensory systems in experienced white-throated sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) captured in southern Ontario, Canada, during spring migration. Treated, sham-treated, and intact birds were then displaced 2,200 km west to Saskatchewan, Canada. Tracking their initial post-displacement migration using an array of automated VHF receiving towers, we found no evidence in any of the groups for compensatory directional response towards their expected breeding grounds. Our results suggest that white-throated sparrows may fall back to a simple constant-vector orientation strategy instead of performing true navigation after they have been geographically displaced to an unfamiliar area during spring migration. Such a basic strategy may be more common than currently thought in experienced migratory birds and its occurrence could be determined by habitat preferences or range size.

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Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2019 09:20
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2019 09:20

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