How do birds know where they are going?

Well they have eyes like you and me for getting around. The owls around here have extra big eyes so that they can see better at dusk and at dawn when they like to get out and about. But some birds migrate for the winter and take a trip to warmer countries like Africa. My friends the Ospreys always take a holiday in Africa about this time of year. They have an extra trick for finding their way.

They have a substance called magnetite, which is located just above their beaks. This is a mineral that contains iron which the birds use to help them determine Earth’s magnetic field, so they can navigate using true north.

Magnetite is a magnetized rock, which may act as a tiny GPS unit for birds by giving them information about its position relative to Earth’s poles. Birds can use this beak magnetite to travel long distances over areas that do not have many landmarks, such as the ocean.

Magnetite is a rock mineral and one of the main iron ores. It is attracted to a magnet and can be magnetized to become a permanent magnet itself. It is the most magnetic of all the naturally-occurring minerals on Earth.