Can you confuse a pigeon's sense of direction with a magnet?

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paul.fr

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Living oop north there are many "pigeon fanciers" (always thought that was a rather curious term). This got me thinking (yes, it's true), if i was to strap a fridge magnet to said pigeons would this make their navigation skills slightly awry?


[Mod edit - subject altered to turn it into a question - CS]
« Last Edit: 19/06/2008 21:55:49 by chris »

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Offline RD

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In the latest study, researchers found that they could train pigeons to recognize when an anomalous magnetic field was present
the birds would hop to one end of the cage when the field was normal and to the other when the field became abnormal.
In other words, they were detecting differences in the magnetic field.

The pigeons were left to try the same trick with magnets attached to their upper beaks, and could no longer perform the stunt
http://www.scq.ubc.ca/the-compasses-of-birds/
« Last Edit: 19/06/2008 21:31:21 by RD »

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Offline LeeE

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Can you confuse a pigeon's sense of direction with a magnet?
« Reply #2 on: 20/06/2008 00:17:03 »
It's interesting that that the experiment was done with magnets and pigeons - I remember reading about a similar experiment, when I was a child, that was conducted during the early 1950s - a little bit before I was born - where homing pigeons had magnets attached to their heads which appeared to cause confusion re navigation.  I wonder if this is just a re-release of the same experiment.

We'd need to see the source references.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Can you confuse a pigeon's sense of direction with a magnet?
« Reply #3 on: 24/06/2008 18:49:08 »
Hitting a pigeon over the head with a large magnet would certainly confuse it.  [:D]
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