The results of numerous experiments, mainly carried out in Italy and Germany, show that pigeon homing from unfamiliar areas is based on olfactory information. Nonetheless, debate has arisen over the general role of olfactory cues in pigeon homing in different geographical (climatic) regions. This debate has focused on whether atmospheric odours and olfaction are a regional (local) or a universal explanation for the sensory basis of the pigeon navigational map. In the present paper, we review and compare the results of homing experiments carried out in different climatic regions with pigeons subjected to zinc-sulphate induced anosmia. The analysis indicates that the homing ability of pigeons in all sampled regions is based on a spatial representation of olfactory cues. However, notable regional and experience differences emerge in the accuracy of initial orientation and homing performance of untreated control pigeons.
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