Pat Shingleton: "Spring Break and Migrations"
Bird watchers contend that when we experience our last robin, the springtime warm-up is permanent. Springtime migrations include the swallows returning to Capistrano, the buzzards arriving in Hinckley, Ohio with south Louisiana, on-the-lookout, for purple martins. As noted in a previous column, it was once assumed that homing pigeons relied on the sun's position to decipher Earth's magnetic field for navigation. Previously, researchers at Oxford University utilized tracking devices, equipped with global positioning systems, to track pigeons over a three year period. They discovered that within ten kilometers of home, pigeons followed roads, rivers, railways and hedge lines, even when it wasn't a direct path and followed a memorized route.