The Northern Wheatear – The Incredible Migrator..

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) Breeding male ©WikiC

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) Breeding male ©WikiC

A migratory species, the northern wheatear breeds across northern Europe, North Africa, Asia, Alaska, north-eastern Canada and Greenland. After the breeding season, it migrates to sub-Saharan Africa, where it is found across a broad belt that stretches from Mauritania and Mali through northern Nigeria, Central African Republic and Sudan, to Ethiopia and southern Somalia. It is possible that the northern wheatear is the only regularly breeding passerine of North America that migrates to wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa, crossing either the Atlantic Ocean or Eurasia.

With a length of about 14.5 to 15.5 centimeters and weighing just about 18 to 33 grams that would just run to about the weight of two table spoons of salt, this bird flies to places where the other song birds have never ventured.

This is another amazing example of how God uses tiny beings to finish mighty tasks.

  • If you feel that you are small, not-fit-for-anything type or useless, just take inspiration from these tiny creatures.
  • Remember, we would soon take off for the final migration to the wedding banquet of Jesus, the King of kings, who is going to fill heaven, our final destination with redeemed sinners, weak and weary, lonely and lost and those of whom the world calls good for nothing.
  • It is for this reason we need to rejoice Him at all times even during times of trouble.

Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. (Mathew 22:8-10)

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) Breeding male ©WikiC

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) Breeding male ©WikiC

During the breeding season, the northern wheatear is typically found around habitats with short turf, such as moors, cliff-tops,tundra and rocky fields. It uses a variety of open habitats whilst migrating, including cultivated areas and desert, as well as human settlements.

In its winter range, the northern wheatear favours short grass steppe and degraded savanna, but may also be found on cultivated land, on barren rocky hills and among coconut palms.

This bird doesn’t seem to grumble but happily strives in almost any type of land.
Are we satisfied with the place where God has kept us? Or do we grumble that God has kept us in the wrong place?
Our God never makes mistakes.
He knows whom to choose, where to keep and when to keep..
He is always right..

There is a divine purpose in keeping you in a place where you are not happy..

  • Paul and Silas where in the wrong place but still they worshipped God and you know what?
  • God turned the wrong place into the right place for the world to know the extraordinary power of God.
  • Want to see the extraordinary power of God in your life?
  • Just stop grumbling and start worshipping God in the place where God has kept you.

The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage (Psalm 16:6)

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) ©©

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) ©©

After sighting its insect prey from an elevated perch, such as a conspicuous rock, the Northern Wheatear bounds between vegetation and stones to catch its prey on the ground. It may also scoop slow low-flying insects from the air after a short run or a low jump. A largely solitary species, outside the breeding season the northern wheatear defends a small feeding territory against other wheatears .

Breeding birds tend to return to the same nesting site each year. The male arrives around one week before the female, and courtship begins soon after the arrival of the female. Breeding pairs engage in unusual courtship dances, usually in a depression in the ground, when the male flutters and glides in the air, singing constantly.

Jesus left this earth after resurrection not just to prepare a place for us but for the wedding banquet where He would make us His bride and we would be singing praises to Him forever and ever.

And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: (Revelation 19:1)
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:6,7)

Once a pair bond is established, the female chooses a nest site and the pair set about constructing the nest, which is a simple unlined cup of leaves, stems, moss, lichen, feathers and hair, built on a foundation
of dried stems and grasses. The nest is usually placed in a well-sheltered rock cavity, narrow crevice, rodent burrow, hole in a wall or under stones. Between 4 and 8 eggs are incubated for 12 to 13 days. The chicks fledge at 15 to 17 days, but do not reach full independence for a further 12 or 13 days.

The Northern Wheatear makes one of the longest journeys of any small bird, crossing ocean, ice, and desert. It migrates from Sub-Saharan Africa in spring over a vast area of the northern hemisphere that includes northern and central Asia, Europe, Greenland, Alaska, and parts of Canada. In Autumn all return to Africa, where their ancestors had wintered. Arguably, some of the birds that breed in north Asia could take a shorter route and winter in south Asia; however, their inherited inclination to migrate takes them back to Africa.

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe leucorhoa) by BirdPhotos

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe leucorhoa) by BirdPhotos

Birds of the large, bright Greenland race, leucorhoa, makes one of the longest transoceanic crossings of any passerine. In spring most migrate along a route (commonly used by Wadersand Waterfowl) from Africa via continental Europe, the British Isles, and Iceland to Greenland. However, autumn sightings from ships suggest that some birds cross the North Atlantic directly from Canada and Greenland to southwest Europe (a distance of up to 2500 km).

Birds breeding in eastern Canada are thought to fly from Baffin Island and Newfoundland via Greenland, Ireland, and Portugal to the Azores (crossing 3500 km of the North Atlantic) before flying onwards to Africa. Other populations from western Canada and Alaska migrate by flying over much of Eurasia to Africa. Miniature tracking devices have recently shown that the Northern Wheatear has one of the longest migratory flights known – 30,000km (18,640 miles), from from sub-Saharan Africa to their Arctic breeding grounds. “The Alaskan birds travelled almost 15,000km (9,000 miles) each way – crossing Siberia and the Arabian Desert, and travelling, on average, 290 km per day.

“This is the longest recorded migration for a songbird as far as we know,” said Dr Schmaljohann..
Dr Schmaljohann added: “[In the past] we totally underestimated the flight capability of birds in terms of migration.”It seems that bird migration is limited by the size of the Earth. If the planet was larger, they would probably migrate even further.”

If these small birds can set a record for the longest flight,

  • flying over extreme conditions,
  • flying over an ocean and also
  • flying over one of the biggest desert,
  • how far have we traveled to share the word of God?

We find it ever so easy to give our money to send missionaries to remote places to preach the gospel, but, why we find it so difficult to even step out of our house to share the Gospel to our neighbor?

  • God does not want our money..
  • He wants us to stand in the gap for perishing souls..
  • How many of us are ready to obey to His call?

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

Have a blessed day!

Yours in YESHUA,
a j mithra

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Lee’s Addition:

Wheatears are part of the Muscicapidae – Chats, Old World Flycatchers Family.


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