News Round-Up

Birds can ‘read’ the Earth’s magnetic signature well enough to get back on course


Birdwatchers get very excited when a ‘rare’ migratory bird makes landfall having been blown off-course and flown beyond its normal range. But these are rare for a reason; most birds that have made the journey before are able to correct for large displacements and find their final destination.

Now, new research by an international team shows for the first time, how birds displaced in this way are able to navigate back to their migratory route and gives us an insight into how they accomplish this feat.

Writing in Current Biology, the team from Bangor and Keele Universities describe how reed warblers can navigate from a ‘magnetic position’ beyond what they have experienced in their normal migration route, back towards that correct route. MORE

Header image: Eurasian reed warbler. Credit: Florian Packmor.