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Behavioural traits of individual homing pigeons, Columba livia f. domestica, in their homing flights

posted on 27.09.2018, 17:36 authored by Ingo Schiffner, Patrick Fuhrmann, Juliane Reimann, Roswitha Wiltschko

Homing tracks of two groups of pigeons, Columba livia f. domestica, were analyzed in view of difference between individual birds and correlations between characteristic variables, looking at the initial phase while the pigeons were still at the release site, and the homing phase separately. Individual birds differed significantly in their flying speed during the initial phase, and one pigeon tended to stay longer at the release site than the others. There were no significant differences in steadiness and efficiency, indicating that all pigeons homed equally well. Differences in correlation dimension, a variable reflecting the complexity of the navigational process, reflect differences in the use of navigational information, with one bird apparently using less complex information than others. The flying speed during the initial phase was positively correlated with the flying speed during the homing phase. During the homing phase, the steadiness of flight and the efficiency of homing were closely correlated, and both tended to be positively correlated with the correlation dimension, suggesting that birds that use more complex navigational information home more efficiently.