Bird Migration: Influence of Physiological State upon Celestial Orientation

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Science  15 Aug 1969:
Vol. 165, Issue 3894, pp. 716-718
DOI: 10.1126/science.165.3894.716


By means of photoperiod manipulation, the physiological states of spring and autumn migratory readiness were induced in indigo buntings. The orientational tendencies of these two groups of birds were tested simultaneously in May 1968, under an artificial, spring planetarium sky. Birds in spring condition oriented northward; those in autumnal condition, southward. These results suggest that changes in the internal physiological state of the bird rather than differences in the external stimulus situation are responsible for the seasonal reversal of preferred migration direction in this species.

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