Towards understanding the migratory system of birds: a modern displacement experiment

Project 2020–2025
Spreeuw van Perdeck (Rob Buiter)


Migratory birds show a suite of innate dispositions that enable them to travel between breeding, staging and wintering grounds. However, we still lack a good understanding of the cues that migratory birds use to orient and navigate.

Using novel technology, we build on a classic field-experiment to study how juvenile birds develop navigation from an innate clock-and-compass orientation system. We track hundreds of juvenile and adult migrating birds, which are partly translocated to other areas or delayed to assess how they correct for this and how they respond to natural disturbances in order to learn more about the development of navigational skills.