Sense of direction

The sublime sense of direction of migratory birds has fascinated man for decades. For example, ring research has shown that a barn swallow, which nested in a barn here in the Netherlands and wintered near Cape Town, South Africa, found its way flawlessly to the same barn the next breeding season!

 

barnacle goose

Orientation

Although we are far from knowing everything about this phenomenon, it is clear that birds use various instruments. This can also differ per species. Many species orient themselves using a built-in compass, the position of the sun, moon and stars. There are also strong indications that species create a map in their brain with which they can orient themselves. The coastline and large rivers and waters are often important landmarks in this.

 

brent goose