Scientists made a remarkable claim saying that the Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii, or the white-crowned sparrow migrates using a map. This bird summers in Alaska, but flies south to Mexico and the southwestern United States for the cold winter months. The trek is amazing in and of itself, but these birds use a map to get to the southwestern portion of the western hemisphere.
Researchers caught fifteen adult and fifteen juvenile sparrows in Washington (the state) and flew them (via plane) to New Jersey. They then placed radio transmitters on the birds and let them go free. The adults headed southwest, where they already flew several times and managed to gather a mental map of the area. The juveniles, on their first trip, however, flew straight south instead of southwest and would have missed their goal.
The researchers thus discovered that the birds will instinctively fly south for their first migration and build a mental map of the area. When they return next year, those birds can access the map and fly to their wintering grounds by a different, shorter route.