Document Detail

Homing pigeons (Columba livia f. domestica) can use magnetic cues for locating food.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17492419     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
An experimental group of homing pigeons (Columba livia f. domestica) learned to associate food with a magnetic anomaly produced by bar magnets that were fixed to the bowl in which they received their daily food ration in their home loft; the control group lacked this experience. Both groups were trained to search for two hidden food depots in a rectangular sand-filled arena without obvious visual cues; for the experimental birds, these depots were also marked with three 1.15 x 10(6) muT bar magnets. During the tests, there were two food depots, one marked with the magnets, the other unmarked; their position within the arena was changed from test to test. The experimental birds searched within 10 cm of the magnetically marked depot in 49% of the test sessions, whereas the control birds searched there in only 11% of the sessions. Both groups searched near the control depot in 11 and 13% of the sessions, respectively. The significant preference of the magnetically marked food depot by the experimental birds shows that homing pigeons cannot only detect a magnetic anomaly but can also use it as a cue for locating hidden food in an open arena.
Peter Thalau; Elke Holtkamp-Rötzler; Gerta Fleissner; Wolfgang Wiltschko
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2007-05-11
Journal Detail:
Title:  Die Naturwissenschaften     Volume:  94     ISSN:  0028-1042     ISO Abbreviation:  Naturwissenschaften     Publication Date:  2007 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-09-05     Completed Date:  2008-01-18     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0400767     Medline TA:  Naturwissenschaften     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  813-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
Fachbereich Biowissenschaften, J.W.Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Siesmayerstr. 70, 61231 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Appetitive Behavior / physiology*
Columbidae / physiology*
Discrimination Learning
Pattern Recognition, Visual

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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