Bird Navigation

I was delighted to be able to attend the animal navigation conference at Reading University in May 2008. I attended as a dowser with the theory that animals can and do follow dowsable clues including earth energy lines as an aid to navigation.

We all know that dowsers (water diviners) can find water.  However what is less well known is that dowsers can also track earth energy lines.  These are thought to be earth electro/magnetic anomalies that dowsers can pick up and track. These lines can be felt by a trained dowser, some dowsers describe the feeling when they hit an energy line as a benign headache.  Many ancient monuments, the city of Jaipur and Gothic Cathedrals are exactly aligned to Earth Energy Lines, so humans have known about the lines for ever.

I compare these lines to “Gee” used during the war to enable bombers to home into their bases.  The navigator either heard dots or dashes when off the beam and a continuous tone when on it. Dowsers can either feel when they are standing on the Energy Line or see it as a colour.

Dowsers can also track migratory routes such as sheep runs.  These are paths made by the sheep in the fields and go from gate to gate. Just the same paths made people such as the path to the door of a church can be dowsed too.  If dowsers can follow such lines then why should migrating animals and birds not follow paths “imprinted” by past generations?

I am most interested in bird migration. At the Reading meeting there was a lot of controversy from varying groups all suggesting different mechanisms.  As an outsider, there seemed to be three principle discussions on how navigation was done: firstly using magnetic orientation especially in homing pigeons, secondly  the use of olfactory clues, thirdly on the anomaly that Robins have their navigation impaired by filtering out red light. Lastly, it is clear that homing pigeons use navigation clues like railways and motorways to help them get home.

I spoke at length to Wing Commander Austin Dancey (a very experienced RAF navigator) and I think that we agreed that early pilots (before navigation aids) used all the available information that they could to help them. Of course they used compasses but also landmarks, the sun and the Bedford Brickworks (UK) for smell.  It seems to me that it is likely that birds too, use all the possible information available to them to navigate.  This is why there is no one method for getting home, you need all the information that you can glean.

Prof Alerstam talked about the astonishing migration patterns of birds summering in the Artic.  The problem with the usual navigational thesis of compass (magnetic) orientation is that the magnetic flux lines are nearly vertical near the poles and the sky is overcast most of the time.  Some of the birds he has studied such as the Wheatear make astonishing journeys over the open sea. They also seem to take the shortest great circle routes which require simultaneous integration between latitude and longitude a trick only learnt recently by man using powerful computers.

The contention is that animals can navigate using clues well known to dowsers but not yet understood.  The problem, at the moment, is that we cannot give a scientific explanation of these navigational methods nor the dowser’s ability to find North.

My theory is that birds can and do use “dowsing response mechanisms” to navigate.  Issues such as the Robin’s colour sensitivity make sense as I believe that these birds see these navigational pathways (Aerial Migration Highways) in colour.

The problem is to devise experiments that can help us prove or disprove my contentions.

I have been talking to antenna designers. It is clear that the brain is a wonderful antenna (a intelligent wired three dimensional grid) for picking up energy/gravity/magnetic discontinuities.

We need to look at the tagged flights of long distance migratory birds and see if they pick up “Arial highways” .  If they do fly down tracks we would expect to see birds following these lines and not see random undirected migration.

This paper is designed to elicit information and produce experiments to test these theories and try to find others who are interested in this subject.

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