How birds can detect earth’s magnetic field for migration?

By | September 18, 2019

Migratory birds travel hundreds or thousands of kilometers across oceans and mountains more or less in the north-south direction and then manage to get back home after a few months.

But how do they even know where to fly?

How could they manage to take the same route to their destination without being lost?

What kind of compasses or GPS systems do they use to track their path while seasonal migration?

Researchers have revealed that birds have got some kind of magnetic reception, a magnetic compass in their eyes. They are able to see the earths magnetic lines and thus can orient themselves. But even then scientists didn’t not know exactly the reasons behind this magnetic sense.

The mystery behind their migration finally seems to have reached a shore of better clarity. It’s a protein in their eyes which cause this magnetic reception. . An unusual chemical in birds eyes equip them to “see” Earth’s magnetic lines of force. Means these birds can align themselves with the magnetic lines and thus trace their path.

It’s a protein in their eyes that lets the migratory species “see” Earth’s magnetic fields because of quantum entanglement.

The protein is called Cry4, and it’s part of a class of proteins called cryptochromes – photoreceptors sensitive to blue light. And now the phenomenon responsible for magnetic lines detection based on cryptochromes is quantum entanglement

Quantum entanglement is nothing but the correlation happening on quantum states of two particles. So once they are entangled no matter how far you separate them, they maintain the correlation.

By the incoming photons from blue light, unpaired electrons in Cry4 get excited and then sharing of energy happen between unpaired electrons. Their quantum states become entangled, I.e the spins of the two electrons gets correlated. Research says that this kind of radical pairs is susceptible to even a moderate magnetic field.

So in short, in the birds retina, there lies these quantum entangled electrons in the Cry4 protein which are also in a coherent state with the Geomagnetic field.

As birds change direction, obviously the entangled electrons might be experiencing changes in the geomagnetic field. This interaction affects the chemical reactivity of the free-radical molecules and ultimately the signals that they send to the brain. These direction based changing chemical signals result in a sense of magnetic based vision for the migratory birds. So this is how migratory species navigate without getting lost.

Sources:

Birds Can See Earth’s Magnetic Fields, And Now We Know How That’s Possible

We Finally Know How Birds Can See Earth’s Magnetic Field

7 thoughts on “How birds can detect earth’s magnetic field for migration?

  1. Aajan

    Thanks for pointing me to the right place for an explanation I had been searching for, since my childhood. Always used to wonder, how would these migratory birds we see abundantly post-harvest season, around Kuttanad. They would come in thousands and trace their way back, negotiating thousands of miles, once the weather changes.

    Its protein. Mothers blab about it. Doctors and Dieticians blab about it. Gym rats blab about it. Now Ornithologists too can!

    Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      Yeah it’s all about certain protein..or rather the influence of biology in quantum mechanics..thanks a lot for reading and letting me know your feedback

      Reply
    1. Akhila Post author

      Thanks a lot Drew for dropping your comments..really means a lot..hope you are doing good

      Reply

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