Birds navigate using a nerve in their beak, study finds

06/27/2013 | ScienceMag.org

A team of European scientists said the internal navigation sense of birds may be housed in a nerve that runs from the beak to the brain called the trigeminal nerve. The scientists suggest that birds use the nerve along with iron in their beaks to orient themselves using Earth's magnetic field. To test their hypothesis, the team snipped the trigeminal nerve in several Eurasian reed warblers and drove them 621 miles from their natural habitat. They found that the birds with a snipped nerve could not determine their location and were unable to navigate to their breeding grounds.

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