Wiltschko, Wolfgang

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  • Data package
    Data from: Behavioural traits of individual homing pigeons, Columba livia f. domestica, in their homing flights
    (2018-10-03) Schiffner, Ingo; Wiltschko, Wolfgang; Wiltschko, Roswitha
    Homing tracks of two groups of pigeons, Columba livia f. domestica, were analyzed in view of difference between individual birds and correlations between characteristic variables, looking at the initial phase while the pigeons were still at the release site, and the homing phase separately. Individual birds differed significantly in their flying speed during the initial phase, and one pigeon tended to stay longer at the release site than the others. There were no significant differences in steadiness and efficiency, indicating that all pigeons homed equally well. Differences in correlation dimension, a variable reflecting the complexity of the navigational process, reflect differences in the use of navigational information, with one bird apparently using less complex information than others. The flying speed during the initial phase was positively correlated with the flying speed during the homing phase. During the homing phase, the steadiness of flight and the efficiency of homing were closely correlated, and both tended to be positively correlated with the correlation dimension, suggesting that birds that use more complex navigational information home more efficiently.
  • Data package
    Data from: Development of the navigational system in homing pigeons: increase in complexity of the navigational map
    (2018-10-05) Schiffner, Ingo; Wiltschko, Wolfgang; Wiltschko, Roswitha
    In the present study we analysed GPS-recorded tracks from pigeons of different ages from 11 sites between 3.6 and 22.1 km from the home loft, which revealed changes in the navigational system as the birds grew older and became more experienced. The efficiency of juveniles in their first year of life, at only 0.27, was rather low, indicating that the young birds covered more than three times the direct distance home. In the second year, after a standard training programme, the efficiency of the same birds increased to 0.80 and was no longer different from that of older pigeons. The short-term correlation dimension, a variable that reflects the number of factors involved in the navigational process, also increased with age. In juveniles, it was markedly lower than in the other two groups, but even in yearlings it was still significantly lower than that of old pigeons, indicating that the navigational map of yearlings is still developing. Our results indicate that the map system, although functional in the first year of life, continues to become more complex – older pigeons seem to either consider more navigational factors than younger ones or at least weigh the same factors differently.