How to navigate using Animals

Latest News: My latest book, Wild Signs and Star Paths, contains several chapters on the signs contained within animal behaviour and how we can use these to sense what the animals will do next.

Nobody yet knows for certain how humans found their way to every part of the Earth's surface, but there are some interesting clues in the Pacific. Genetic and anthropological evidence now strongly suggests that the paths that humans followed is spookily similar to the migratory paths of the birds.

We can navigate with help from the animals without travelling to the other side of the world though.

Spider's webs will be found in the lee of trees, fences and buildings, sheltered from the wind. If we know that our wind blows most commonly from the southwest, these webs become basic compasses.

The next time you walk past a gorse bush in an area with sheep, have a look at all sides of the bush. If you are in an exposed area (quite likely if there are gorse and sheep), you may spot that one side of the bush is less healthy than the other. The sheep like to shelter behind gorse when a storm blows through and these come from the southwest more often than any other direction. The giveaway is a hollow, or at least an area with dead branches and few flowers and tiny strands of wool hanging down from the branches.

Over the years I have had help from dogs, goats, horses, whales, dolphins, jellyfish and birds to name a few. Have a browse of some of the posts below, read my books or come on a course to discover which animals may help you find your way.

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For a complete guide to Natural Navigation read Tristan’s books.

More on how to navigate using Animals:

How to Navigate with Spiders' Webs

Animals help us navigate in lots of ways. They form both compasses and maps for us. The map is formed in a similar way to the method we use with plants: if we understand the habitat and ecology of an animal or a plant then spotting it in the wild…

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Spectator Reviews Wild Signs

The Spectator have just reviewed Wild Signs and Star Paths: "It’s a thoughtful, lyrical book about the hidden connections between flora and fauna, the landscape and the weather, and most of its wise and wondrous observations are gleaned from the author’s rambles around the English countryside. . . It’s a…

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Camberwell Beauty

What price to see a butterfly I've never seen before? I found this one in the garden yesterday and believe it is the rare migrant, Camberwell Beauty. (Known as the 'Mourning Cloak' in the US). UPDATE FROM COUNTY RECORDER, PAUL JOHNSON: Many thanks for your email and the photo which…

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