Urge to migrate found in bird genes

Genetic basis for black cap migration

source: Janelle Weaver New Scientist vol 209 no 2800, February 19 2011 p9

Bird migration appears to have a genetic basis, according to Jakob Mueller from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology at Starnberg, Germany. He and his team studied European black caps (Sylvia atricapilla) recording restlessness at night in captive birds. They are generally only nocturnal when migrating. One gene was linked to this restlessness, and to melatonin secretion, feeding and energy metabolism.