Birds can accurately navigate over hundreds to thousands of kilometres, and use celestial and magnetic compass senses to orient their flight. How birds determine their location in order to select the correct homeward bearing (map sense) remains controversial, and has been attributed to their olfactory or magnetic senses. Pigeons can hear infrasound down to 0·05 Hz, and an acoustic avian map is proposed consisting of infrasonic cues radiated from steep-sided topographic features. The source of these infrasonic signals is microseisms continuously generated by interfering oceanic waves. Atmospheric processes affecting the infrasonic map cues can explain perplexing experimental results from pigeon releases. Moreover, four recent disrupted pigeon races in Europe and the north-eastern USA intersected infrasonic shock waves from the Concorde supersonic transport. Having an acoustic map might also allow clock-shifted birds to test their homeward progress and select between their magnetic and solar compasses.
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