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Seasonal migratory birds return to the same breeding and wintering grounds year after year, and migratory long-distance shorebirds are good examples of this. These tasks require learning and long-term spatial memory abilities that are integrated into a navigational system for repeatedly locating breeding, wintering, and stopover sites. Previous investigations focused on the neurobiological basis of hippocampal plasticity and numerical estimates of hippocampal neurogenesis in birds but only a few studies investigated potential contributions of glial cells to hippocampal-dependent tasks related to migration. Here we hypothesized that the astrocytes of migrating and wintering birds may exhibit significant morphological and numerical differences connected to the long-distance flight. We used as a model the semipalmated sandpiper
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