Romans 8:20-21
“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

We are all aware of migrating birds’ amazing abilities to navigate thousands of miles to a specific forest or tree. However, do migrating birds ever make mistakes in navigation? The answer is, “Yes.” Those mistakes help us understand how birds navigate.

Birds that make mistakes in navigation are called vagrants. Many of the vagrant warblers found in California nest in Canada, east of the Canadian Rockies. In the fall they fly south or southeast, Confused Birdseither to the Atlantic coast or the Gulf of Mexico, and finally to their wintering grounds in Central or South America. However, for some unknown reason, about 150 of the birds usually end up in California.

To find an explanation, scientists studied the starting ranges of these birds in Canada. Their first discovery was that most of the vagrant birds were first-timers. Since compass headings for migration are genetically built into the birds, this doesn’t explain how they got lost. Here was the problem. If, for example, a species was programmed to fly 55 degrees to the left of south, the vagrants arrived in California by flying 55 degrees to the right of south. The birds had confused their left and their right!

Vagrant birds are one illustration of how man’s sin has placed a burden of decay upon the entire creation. We can understand why all the creation eagerly awaits the return of Christ for its complete deliverance from the burden of sin.

I know, Lord, that it is because of Your mercy that You tarry in Your return to us. You would have no one unnecessarily lost. Help me to do a better job of witnessing to others about forgiveness, even as I pray, come quickly, Lord. Amen.

Diamond, Jared. “The Case of the Vagrant Birds – or Left Coast, Here We Come.” Discover, January, 1986. P. 82-84. Photo: Cedar waxwing.