Preferred Compass Directions in Initial Orientation of Homing Pigeons

  • Hans G. Wallraff
Part of the Proceedings in Life Sciences book series (LIFE SCIENCES)


The initial bearings of pigeons are commonly not only homeward oriented, but also polarized toward a preferred compass direction (PCD). The PCD is loft-specific; at ten out of eleven loft sites investigated it is in the western semicircle. It can become shifted in the course of general homing experience. The PCD appeared stable against several experimental treatments (long-term clock shifts, olfactory deprivation, exposure to different winds at the home site), but could be reduced or reversed, respectively, by certain screenings of the aviary in which the birds were raised. It is concluded that “release-site biases” are not necessarily caused by distortions of the physical environment.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans G. Wallraff
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für VerhaltensphysiologieSeewiesenFederal Republic of Germany

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