Pigeons with a deficient sun compass use the magnetic compass

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Science  16 Oct 1981:
Vol. 214, Issue 4518, pp. 343-345
DOI: 10.1126/science.7280697


Homing pigeons that had never seen the sun before noon could not use the sun compass in the morning; nevertheless they were homeward oriented. When such birds carried magnets, however, they were disoriented, suggesting they were using a magnetic compass. These findings indicate that the magnetic compass is available to pigeons whether or not the sun compass has been established and that the magnetic compass is apparently the first source of compass information.