Can other animals see space and the stars?

December 27, 2013

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Can other animals see space and the stars?

Robin Lockley was a Welsh ornithologist who owned a tiny island full of seabirds. He started wondering how the birds on his island knew how to get back to the tiny island in the middle of the ocean when they had migrated thousands of miles away. He spent 70 years studying and writing about bird navigation, and found out some birds look at the stars to find directions.

 

wiki_warbler

 

Lockley put a bunch of warblers inside a planetarium and set the planetarium to show the night sky. No matter how he rotated the projections of stars inside the planetarium, the warblers all turned to face toward the stars in the South, even if he put the Southern stars on the actual North side of the planetarium. So he knew the warblers must be actually looking at the stars and not following Earth’s magnetic field.

wiki_manx_shearwater

 

In another experiment, Lockley caught shearwaters from his little British island and got on a plane to Boston in America, where he released them at night to see if they could find their way back to the island. He discovered that if he released them on clear nights, they would turn toward the island and fly straight home at top speed for two weeks. If he released them on cloudy nights, they would fly in circles trying to figure out a direction, and get home late or not at all. So he decided they had to be looking at the stars for direction.

Article Source >>
(Bird pictures are from wikipedia.)

CanadaGees

PS Amazing Birds Photography

JTing_warbler

JT_Harrier

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerryting/

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More Links

Birds Through the Lens

RB_Owl

AS_Robin

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason January 11, 2014 at 2:38 am

more than likely they can see space and stars because evolution within nature radiates and illumions a field animals are sensitive to the ellements and they are very instinctive as well.

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Jorge December 31, 2013 at 12:46 am

What you have said is very true. We were made on purpose without any gifted senses, perception, etc. in order that from us, only a few may develop them…
—and guess what. Only a few develop them. How true is to be human without abilities, because we inherited the chimp´s & gorilla´s abilities to love, hate, discriminate, detest, envy, control, segregate, be selfish and kill. That is what make us so “irrationally humanly animal”. We are selfish even to our own survival. We create weapons filling our house so much that we will not have space to stand up in our limited space of this earth.
Birds do not have those “qualities” we have, because they do not reason but are purely instinctive. If you have seen or observed pigeons, they segregate & discrimate like humans, when their offsprings do not develop feathers & abilities to fly or feed at the normal pace as the rest, they are pushed away from the colony & kiilled through bites. Are we alike??

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Taraprasad Mishra December 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm

No doubt the animals and birds have their survival knowledge that is built into their instinct. They have many senses that are denied to us humans. They are equipped with much better sensory perception than human beings.

Therefore, in ancient times pigeons were used to send messages to very distant places and the system was working most successfully. In India people used to determine various upcoming natural phenomena, such as rains, earthquakes, tsunami etc by observing the change in the behaviors of the animals and birds.

This article describes the unique ability birds posses to determine their direction and destination by observing the position of the stars. This is a very novel discovery indeed.

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