A new study published in the journal Science has investigated the effects of Earth’s magnetic field on migratory birds. The results revealed that the magnetic slope may be acting as a ‘stop’ sign for birds.
As is known, many species of birds migrate between the Northern and Southern hemispheres every year due to breeding and cooling weather. A new study published in the journal Science research also revealed remarkable information about how these migratory birds find their way and when to stop.
The scientists who conducted the study said migratory birds had little difficulty finding their way, thanks to a built-in ‘compass’ that allows the detection of the Earth’s magnetic field and the determination of directions based on magnetic density. In addition, the study also investigated how these birds knew when to stop during their journey.
Magnetic tilt may be acting as a ‘STOP’ sign
According to experts, birds can detect which direction the creatures will go and the regions where they will form their nests thanks to biological tools called magnetoreception, which detect the earth’s magnetic field and allow it to navigate. The published research also sought to find out whether the Earth’s magnetic field influenced how the birds would stand.
In the study, data collected from the bird species Acrocephalus scirpaceus (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) from 1940 to 2018 were examined. The results showed that these birds were likely to be using magnetic slopes (the angle of inclination between the Earth’s magnetic field and the surface) to find their breeding grounds. This showed that the planet’s magnetic field served as a ‘stop’ sign to the birds.
Noting that birds learned the angle of inclination before leaving their breeding grounds, the scientists noted that the Earth’s magnetic field varies from year to year, so the position of the birds’ birth or breeding grounds can change, which benefits the research results.
Magnetic field and biological mechanisms ensure the survival of birds
The use of magnetic slopes makes sense because it has a steady change, the scientists explained. However, in order for this situation to occur, birds need to use it with a built-in compass that connects wintering and breeding grounds”, and emphasized the importance of biological means in navigation.
However, experts stressed that more research is needed to reach certainty. The possibility of magnetic tilt use may be high due to available data, the researchers said, adding that the subject should be confirmed by experiments. It was also emphasized by scientists that understanding bird behavior is very important to ensure the preservation of biodiversity.
As a result, the study found that the general migratory birds are likely to be taking advantage of parameters generated by the Earth’s magnetic field. Using this magnetic field and a range of biological mechanisms, bird species manage to successfully navigate and find habitats suitable for survival, experts say.