Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Consider the Woodpecker

Have you ever thought about the complexity of God's creation and been in awe? I was reminded of the Lord's attention to detail, and intricate design the other day when I took the kids for a walk down the road. Take a close look at the tree below. Do you see anything different about it?

Here's a closer view. Do you see the thousands of tiny holes in it? That, my friend, is the work of a woodpecker. This tree is quite literally filled from top to bottom with these holes. The woodpecker pecks the hole into the tree, and makes it the exact size it needs so that it can fit an acorn in the hole.

Sometimes several generations of birds use the same tree as sort of a "cache" to store the seeds in. And they fill up every hole, one by one, with acorns.

By late fall, nearly every hole is stashed. Below is a close up view of some of the holes. If you look carefully, you can see that many of them still contain the fruit of the woodpecker's labor. Many times the woodpeckers must fend off predators who desire a piece of the loot.

There is something even more important than their amazing ability to drill a perfect hole for an acorn. Have you ever considered the way that God designed these wonderful birds? Beyond the fact that God gave them stiff tail feathers and two backward facing toes so that they can grip trees while they work, there is unbelievable speed and force with which Woodpeckers drill holes into trees. A woodpecker hammers at a rate of 15-16 times per second. One article said that this was twice as fast as a sub machine gun!!! The woodpecker's head is brought to a stiff halt during each peck that can result in a stress equivalent to 1,000 times the force of gravity!
So with all that force, how does the woodpecker not sustain brain damage, or a broken beak? The answer is simple. God thought of every small detail. The woodpecker is fitted with an amazingly strong and specialized beak that creates sawdust as the bird hammers. And the cranium and beak are separated by a spongy tissue that acts as a shock absorber every time the bird strikes it's beak against a tree. Man has never invented such an effective way of absorbing shock. Imagine that.
I could go on about the Woodpecker's unique tongue, and neck muscles, but I think you get the picture. If God, who is all knowing and all powerful, could design this fascinating bird with every precise detail in place, then how much more thought and intricate design is put into the creation of man? I'm truly blown away. Looking at life on the molecular and cellular level is mind boggling, but it doesn't take a microscope to get a glimpse of the greatness of the All-mighty God. His handiwork is displayed throughout all of nature. And even a child, on a walk with mom, can look up in a tree, and say WOW! God is AWESOME!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I've always enjoyed watching "my" little woodpecker come in and enjoy a drink from the hummingbird feeder, and watched at amazement at the strength of his tail feathers as he precariously hung there to get a little nectar. But, I must admit, I have a new found appreciation for my little woodpecker as well as my Awesome Creator. The Lord never ceases to amaze and teach me.