Migrational orientation in Ring-billed Gull chicks

TitleMigrational orientation in Ring-billed Gull chicks
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1976
AuthorsSouthern WEdward
JournalThe Auk

Evidence is provided in this paper to substantiate that young Ring-billed Gulls: (1) express a significant directional preference in orientation cages corresponding to the mean bearing resulting from analysis of juvenile band recovery data for the same colony, (2) are consistent in their directional responses during successive trials, and (3) respond similarly during orientation cage and free-flight trials. These findings further support my hypothesis that the responses of gull chicks during choice-reaction experiments are indicative of the direction they will head during fall migration. This is one of the few studies having a variety of data for the same species showing statistically significant similarities between experimental orientation data and actual migration data for the same population of birds. It appears that this procedure is producing reliable information to assist in explaining the mechanisms associated with avian orientation. By comparing migration and orientation data, I have attempted to affirm that my statistically significant results are also of biological significance.