Mythical Wednesday: Robins; the Magneto of the animal world?

Used with permission. © Seppo Leinonen,

Used with permission. © Seppo Leinonen,

A relatively new word, magnetoception was first referenced during the early 70’s. It’s an interesting and fascinating ability that allows an organism to actually sense the earth’s magnetic field.

It’s thought this is sense is what lets birds and insects migrate every year, and it has been observed in bacteria and invertebrates such as fruit flies, lobsters and honeybees, but out of all the creatures that have this ability, only the robin has the ability to actually see the magnetic field that encompasses the planet.

Yes, you heard me right.

Scientists have known for decades how homing pigeons use small magnetic particles in their beaks to guide them, but there is now research that states certain birds, robins in particular, were able to actually see the invisible lines.

An experiment was conducted where researchers injected a special traceable dye into the eyes of the bird (ouch), and into the region of their brain called Cluster N, and area known to be active when the birds orient themselves. As the birds got their bearings, the tracers traveled and met in a region of their brain responsible for vision, showing a link between the eye and Cluster N.

More interesting is this, there are some scientists who feel that these same elements are present in human eyes, and could very well be used the same way.

Looks like we might not need the GPS on our phones after all. Good, that damn voice drives me nuts…

What do you think?


About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

4 Responses to Mythical Wednesday: Robins; the Magneto of the animal world?

  1. I’m pretty sure I’ll still need GPS. I’m terrible at finding home.

    Re: magnetic field
    I’d heard stories that just before that big Asian tsunami in 2004, many animals started moving away from shore. Elephants that were chained started pulling up their stakes to get away.

    • GPS. We used one to get to a hotel in Toronto. Never. Again. It confused my husband so bad we drove half way through the city in the collector lane.

      I’ve heard stories like that too, dogs barking and cats going nuts right before an earthquake. They’re more in tuned with the world than humans.

  2. DRC says:

    They do say that with dears and stags too. They say they can see the energy surrounding electricity pylons and so they know to stay away from them.

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