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Migratory birds, as well as many other animals, are able to sense the magnetic field of the earth, but how do they do it? "A fascinating possibility is that they may actually see the earth's magnetic lines as patterns of color or light intensity superimposed on their visual surroundings," said John B. Phillips, associate professor of biology in the College of Science at Virginia Tech. The results of more than two decades of research allow him to let such an image cross his mind.