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An Attempt to Confirm Magnetic Sensitivity in the Pigeon, Columba livia

Beaugrand, Jacques (1976) An Attempt to Confirm Magnetic Sensitivity in the Pigeon, Columba livia. [Journal (Paginated)]

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Abstract

An attempt was made to test the sensitivity of homing pigeons to weak magnetic variations of the order of the ones naturally occurring on earth. Pigeons were first subjected to a cardiac orienting reflex test to 50 magnetic stimuli and to 50 control stimuli presented alone and randomly interdigitated. They were then subjected to a differential nociceptive conditioning procedure using the same magnetic and control stimuli for 100 trials under each stimulus condition. Cardiac activity was used as an index of reactivity throughout the study. The tests were performed in uniform magnetic fields using l to diameter Helmholtz coils. Results indicate that the magnetic stimuli presentations did not evoke a cardiac orienting reflex when compared to the cardiac orienting response of control pigeons to a neutral luminous stimulus. Moreover, results from the conditioning tests indicate that the magnetic stimuli were not used by the pigeons as a cue presaging the forthcoming shock. It is concluded that, in the present experimental situation, homing pigeons did not respond to small changes in the ambient magnetic field with changes in autonomic functioning. Results are discussed in the context of the inappropriateness of the stimuli and tests used to show magnetic sensitivity in birds.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:magnetic sensitivity birds pigeon orientation
Subjects:Biology > Animal Behavior
ID Code:2919
Deposited By:Beaugrand, Jacques
Deposited On:06 May 2003
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55

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