Northern Wheatear are powerful birds and migrate to Africa for our winter. It’s astonishing that so soon after being an egg they are off, flying thousands of miles.

Wheatear - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Wheatear undertake one of the longest migrations for their body size in the animal kingdom. Their breeding range has spread across northern and central Asia, Europe, Greenland, Alaska, and even areas of Canada, yet all of the birds migrate to Africa for our winter. They can’t help it. It would be sensible for some of them to migrate south and winter in Asia, but so far they haven’t adapted to do that, and all stream back to Africa instead. Maybe one day a few intrepid explorers might break the pattern, but until then, they’re set in their ways across evolutionary time.

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