Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 129, Issue 1, pp 1–4 | Cite as

Infrasound detection by the homing pigeon: A behavioral audiogram

  • Melvin L. Kreithen
  • Douglas B. Quine
Article

Summary

Homing pigeons could detect extremely low frequency sounds (infrasounds) as low as 0.05 Hz in a sound isolation chamber. Classically conditioned heart rate changes were used as a behavioral measure of sensitivity. An audiogram of thresholds was determined for 13 frequencies between 0.05 Hz and 200 Hz. Below 10 Hz, the pigeons are at least 50 dB more sensitive than humans. Surgical removal of middle ear or inner ear structures reduced or eliminated the infrasound responses. Natural infrasounds come from many sources including weather patterns, topographic features, and ocean wave activity. Infrasounds propagate long distances and can be detected hundreds or even thousands of km away from their sources. These laboratory experiments are part of a series designed to find out if homing pigeons can use outdoor infrasounds as cues for orientation and navigation.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Balachandran, N.K., Donn, W.L., Rind, D.H.: Concorde sonic booms as an atmospheric probe. Science197, 47–49 (1977)Google Scholar
  2. Bowman, H.S., Bedard, A.J.: Observations of infrasonic and subsonic disturbances related to severe weather. Geophys. J. R. Astron. Soc.26, 215–242 (1971)Google Scholar
  3. Clark, B., Stewart, J.D.: Effects of angular acceleration on man: thresholds for the perception of rotation and the oculogyral illusion. Aerospace Med.40 (9), 952–956 (1969)Google Scholar
  4. Clark, B., Stewart, J.D.: Thresholds for the perception of angular acceleration about the three major body axes. Acta Otolaryng.69, 231–238 (1970)Google Scholar
  5. Cook, R.K.: Atmospheric sound propagation. In: Atmospheric exploration by remote probes, Vol. 2, pp. 633–669. Washington, D.C.: Committee on Atmospheric Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council 1969Google Scholar
  6. Harrison, J.B., Furumoto, L.: Pigeon audiograms: Comparison of evoked potential and behavioral thresholds in individual birds. J. Auditory Res.11, 33–42 (1971)Google Scholar
  7. Heise, G.A.: Auditory thresholds in the pigeon. Am. J. Psychol.66, 1–19 (1953)Google Scholar
  8. Kreithen, M.L., Eisner, T.: Ultraviolet light detection by the homing pigeon. Nature272, 347–348 (1978)Google Scholar
  9. Kreithen, M.L., Keeton, W.T.: Detection of changes in atmospheric pressure by the homing pigeon,Columba livia. J. comp. Physiol.89, 73–82 (1974a)Google Scholar
  10. Kreithen, M.L., Keeton, W.T.: Detection of polarized light by the homing pigeon,Columba livia. J. comp. Physiol.89, 83–92 (1974b)Google Scholar
  11. Oosterveld, W.J.: Threshold value for stimulation of the horizontal semicircular canals. Aerospace Med.41 (4), 386–389 (1970)Google Scholar
  12. Procunier, R.W.: Observations of acoustic aurora in the 1–16 Hz range. Geophys. J. R. Astron. Soc.26, 183–189 (1971)Google Scholar
  13. Wilson, C.R.: Auroral infrasonic waves and poleward expansions of auroral substorms at Inuvik, N.W.T., Canada. Geophys. J.R. Astron. Soc.26, 178–181 (1971)Google Scholar
  14. Yeowart, N.S., Evans, M.J.: Thresholds of audibility for very low-frequency pure tones. J. Acoust. Soc. Am.55, 814–818 (1974)Google Scholar
  15. Yodlowski, M.L., Kreithen, MX., Keeton, W.T.: Detection of atmospheric infrasound by homing pigeons. Nature265, 725–726 (1977)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melvin L. Kreithen
    • 1
  • Douglas B. Quine
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Neurobiology and Behavior, Division of Biological Sciences, Langmuir LaboratoryCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations