animals, biology, bird, migration, navigation, Popular science, science
Everyone knows that migrating birds are capable of incredible feats of navigation; for example, the Bar-tailed Godwit manages to navigate across the Pacific during its non-stop 11,000km flight from Alaska to New Zealand. Some birds use visual or olfactory cues to navigate, but many birds are able to sense the Earth’s magnetic field, an ability which is supposed to be underpinned by a group of iron-rich cells in the upper beak. However, a study just published in Nature has uncovered the true identity of these cells and shown that they’re probably not involved in sensing magnetism, re-opening the question of how birds can navigate across thousands of kilometers.
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