Adjusting to changing times and still holding to unchanging principles is a rhyme in the World of the Winged. The migration of birds fascinated scientists for so long that the question, “How do they know where to go? “, was finally cracked by several theories. The most fascinating discovery was about Cry4, which includes how they sense the Earth’s magnetic field.

What is Cry4?

Cryptochromes are special kinds of proteins which includes Cry1, Cry2 and Cry4. They are found in a section of the bird eye retina which is sensitive to blue light. The regular rise and fall of the concentrations of Cry1 and Cry2 proteins throughout the day is normal. But the level of Cry4 is constant which urged the scientists to look more close to it. Spikes in the level of Cry4 in migratory birds was observed in the migratory season when the birds began their migratory paths. It was a vital finding that this spike was not observed in non-migratory birds during the same time of the year. An odd number of electrons make up the Cry4 protein.

The incoming light hits the Cry4 protein and it excites the electrons. This creates a correlation in the quantum states of two electrons due to the energy transfer between two molecules in the protein. The electron spin creates a coherent quantum state or quantum entanglement which reacts to the weak electromagnetic field of the Earth.

What is Quantum Entanglement?

Let’s consider two particles X and Y both having upward spins. When they become entangled, Y begins to spin downwards. The particles still stay entangled even though their distance increases. But if the particle X’s spin direction is reversed particle Y will begin to spin in the opposite direction as of its initial direction so as to fulfill the opposite correlation between them.

These 2 electrons are reacting to the bird flying through the Earth’s magnetic field where the different spins of the electrons are due to the different movements of the bird. One of the electrons migrates a few nano-meters away, where it feels a slightly different magnetic field than the other. Spin alteration produces different chemical reactions. This triggering will send different chemical signals to the brain.

Magnetic-based vision

Scientists predict that these direction-based changing chemical signals results in a sense of magnetic-based vision for these migratory birds. In theory the products of many reactions across a bird’s eye could create a picture of the Earth’s magnetic field. Scientists picture it as a varying pattern of light and dark bands. Some researchers predict that the birds might see a dot at the edge of their vision which turns according to the direction they are traveling as the arrow head in Google maps.

This discovery of this concept in birds is really incredible. It made me wonder on how hard it is for us humans to study about quantum particles. It require very complex machinery and controlled environments with super low temperatures. But after all this is happening in the birds eye at chaotic circumstances. How is it possible? The answer lies in the literal bird eye view where further research has to reveal. Nature doesn’t reveal all her secrets at once. It gives us a chance to imagine and to be astonished on our discoveries. After all imagination is better than knowledge.


Image Credits:


Tagged : / / /