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  Birds 'use sun to find their way'
Updated 16 April 2004, 17.05

Thrush
Scientists reckon they have worked out why birds can fly for thousands of miles without getting lost.

We already knew that birds use the Earth's magnetic field to find their way, but the new research shows they also plan their routes using the sun.

While birds can detect the magnetic field, they cannot work out the difference between north and south.

When they fly off course, it's thought they look at the position of the setting sun to correct their mistake.

A team of scientists caught the birds and attached radio transmitters to them.

They tracked the birds' progress as they flew hundreds of miles across a huge area of the US, called the American Midwest.

They tricked the birds by setting up an artificial magnetic field, but the creatures soon got back on course - thanks to the sun.

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