In a pilot experiment a European Robin, Erithacus rubecula, expressing migratory restlessness with a stable orientation, was video filmed in the dark with an infrared camera and its directional migratory activity was recorded. The flight overhead of migrating conspecifics uttering nocturnal flight calls was simulated by sequential computer controlled activation of five loudspeakers placed in a linear array perpendicular to the bird's migration course. The bird responded to this stimulation by changing its migratory course in the direction of that of the ‘flying conspecifics' but after about 30 minutes it drifted back to its original migration course. The results suggest that songbirds migrating alone at night can use the flight calls from conspecifics as additional cues for orientation and that they may compare this information with other cues to decide what course to keep.
Pressures of Life: Molecules To Migration, 2008, p. 569-574