A way ahead for wayward birds

October 17, 2003

A novel application has emerged from the work of Yohsuke Kamide, from Nagoya University in Japan, who has developed a system that tracks variations in the Earth's magnetic field caused by subatomic particles ejected by the Sun. His work is used by telecommunications, electricity supply, satellite operations and other major industries. But, he told last week's meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in London, a whole new user group is particularly enthusiastic about his work. Pigeon racing clubs, convinced that fluctuations in Earth magnetism disrupt their beloved birds' homing instincts, are among the service's biggest users.

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