So we’re thinking that albatross could make use of two different kinds of compasses if you will, a magnetic compass and a celestial compass.
The magnetic compass somehow makes use of Earth’s magnetic field, much the way a standard compass does.
But to prove this, we would have to find some kind of magnetic sensory organ in birds, and we are not sure that we have.
We have found in birds a mineral called magnetite, which we think might be somehow related to this, because magnetite is a natural magnet.
But the problem is that we’ve also found magnetite in non-migratory birds,
which suggests that it may in fact serve a completely different function, not related to navigation at all.
Um, and the other compass, the celestial compass makes use of the stars, more or less the same way humans have historically used the stars to navigate in the open sea.
So that’s the way we think albatross navigate.
So anyway, you know, think about it, how about if you had to go a thousand miles every time you wanted to get a bite to eat?
Yeah, and we complain about having to walk all the way across campus to get to the cafeteria.