The German Warbler

“Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”  Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, p. 1

“In the August, 1953 issue of Scientific American magazine is a revelatory article by E. G. F. Sauer, ornithologist at the University of Freiburg, Germany.

“Writes Sauer, each fall, the little German garden warbler, weighing barely three-quarters of an ounce sets off one night on an unbelievable journey.  All alone (never in the collective security of a flock) it wings its solitary way southward over Germany, France and Spain and then swings south to its distant goal in southern Africa.  It flies on unerringly, covering a hundred miles or more in a single night, never once stopping in its course, certain of its goal.  In the spring it takes off again and northward retraces its path to its nesting place in a German or Scandinavian thicket—there to hatch a new generation of little warblers which will grow up, and without being taught, will have the self-same capacity to follow the same route across continents and oceans by the map of the stars!

“To discover how they oriented themselves, Prof. Sauer and his assistants experimented with warblers in cages with a glass opening at the top, so that they could see part of the sky, but nothing else of their surroundings.  They also tested the birds in a cage placed in a planetarium—that is with a dome, showing an artificial replica of the natural starry sky—and they found that when the stars were hidden either in the real sky or in the planetarium by thick clouds the birds became completely disoriented and confused.  Their experiments proved conclusively that these birds were guided only by the stars in their long semi-annual migrations.  The behavior of the warblers, in these special studies, ‘leaves no doubt that the warblers have a remarkable hereditary mechanism for orienting themselves by the stars—a detailed image of the starry configuration of the sky coupled with a precise time sense which related the heavenly canopy to the geography of the earth at every time and season.  At their very first glimpse of the sky the birds automatically know the right direction.  Without benefit of previous experience, with no cue except the stars, the birds are able to locate themselves in time and space to find their destined homes.’

“Prof. Sauer continues, giving us more of the ‘mystery’ in this phenomenon: “Even more difficult to explain is the mystery of how the birds ever came to rely on celestial navigation and to develop their skill in the first place…What evolutionary process was it that endowed these animals with the highly sophisticated ability to read the stars?’

“No wonder Prof. Sauer questions how ‘evolution’ could perform such a miracle in these birds and other animals, some of practically no intelligence (to wit, the crab). Fred John Meldau, Why We Believe In Creation Not In Evolution, p. 178, 179

“God is wise and all-powerful…He performs great and unsearchable things, wonders without number.” Job 9:4, 10

“How countless are your works, LORD! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Psalm 104:24

“Jesus told him, ‘Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20

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