James Pauly

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Blaine Ferrell, Herbert Shadowen, Joe Winstead

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


The possibility that nocturnal migrants use sunset as an orientational cue was explored in the White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) between 1 April and 24 April, 1981. Orientation tests were run on the roof of the biology building at Western Kentucky University when birds were assumed to be in the proper physiological condition for migration. Birds exposed to only nighttime skies, birds isolated from all visual cues, and birds exposed to both daytime and nighttime skies did not exhibit the northward directional preference appropriate for the season tested. However, White-throated Sparrows exposed only to sunset and tested in the absence of visual nighttime cues exhibited significant orientation northward. These data clearly support the concept that White-throated Sparrows can use sunset as an orientational cue.


Animal Sciences | Biology | Life Sciences | Poultry or Avian Science