Menu

Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

Songbird migration phenotypes

One of the most fascinating questions in nature is how young birds find their way during their first solo-migration from the sites where they were born to their population-specific wintering areas, sometimes several thousand kilometers apart. Despite decades of research in this field, and a good understanding of the functional characteristics of the different biological compasses, the genetics of migration as well as the formation of a migration phenotype is not fully understood.

A bird is sitting on a perch in a cage.
A young Northern wheatear preparing for migration. Photo: Susanne Åkesson

Magnetic fields and individs

In this project we investigate the characteristics of the endogenous migration program and individual expression of migration phenotypes for different bird species, and perform controlled experiments in which we manipulate the different types of information birds have access to for compass orientation and navigation. The experiments are performed in non-magnetic houses (ORILab), where we have electromagnetic (Merritt) coils installed to control the magnetic field around the circular cages where we study migration behavior and fueling of individual birds. In particular we are interested to study interactions between the external geomagnetic field and expression of different components of the endogenous migration program, i.e. fueling, migratory restlessness, and orientation.

We also study the route choice, stopover area use and different timing of migration in individual birds tracked during natural migrations, and compare migration behavior between species and populations.

Page Manager:
A bird is sitting inside on a perch locking out on a bright sky.
Dunnock in experimental cage. Photo: Aron Hejdström.

People involved