Friday, May 27, 2005

Birds have Specialized Night-vision

Being an amateur astronomer, I like the fact that birds use stars during migration to help navigate their way at night. Sometimes I let my imagination run wild with a mental image of thousands of birds flying against a starlit sky. Isn’t it fun to wonder what it’s like to be up there during the night with godwits and warblers?

“To migrate successfully over thousands of miles at night, night-migratory birds need to see where they fly, as well as navigate by stars and the earth's magnetic field. Surprisingly, Jarvis said, recent scientific evidence has suggested that birds have specialized molecules in their visual system that translate magnetic compass information into visual patterns. Thus, the researchers hypothesized that night migratory birds would need a specialized night-vision brain area.”

Link: Full Article

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