Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Applied Physics Volume 18, Number 12 December, 1947, pp. 1035-1063.


The bird navigation theory as presented implies an organ or organs in the bird's physiology which are sensitive to the effect of its motion through the vertical component of the earth's magnetic field and to the effort exerted to overcome the coriolis force, due to the earth's rotation. Both these influences involve a set of lines which together form a navigational gridwork. By correlating its instantaneous land speed with the two above effects, a bird can fly to its home which is a unique point in this gridwork, or to related companion points existing in the gridwork at positions other than its home. Experimentation with homing pigeons between the home and spurious home points (conjugate or companion points) has yielded data which supports the theory.

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