Wondrous Woodpecker: The Design of a Birdbrain.

By David Bassett, M.S.

“But ask, now,…the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee…who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?” Job 12:7,9.peckerhead

In considering strong evidence for creative design, one cannot help but be awed by the engineering expertise displayed by our feathered friend, the woodpecker. Their determined drilling and tree-tattooing, though seemingly relentless, serves to advertise their presence while defending their territory.

It also aids in the search for literally thousands of insect larvae and adult bugs needed daily to satisfy their ravenous appetite. In addition to controlling insect populations, the nearly 200 species of woodpeckers are very valuable in destroying insect-carriers of many tree-killing diseases, thereby helping to preserve the world’s needed forests.

The woodpecker is uniquely and specially constructed for this purpose as the following design features would testify:

  1. X-shaped feet –with two toes facing forward and two toes facing backward, the woodpecker is able to move up, down, and around, vertical tree trunks. (Most birds have three toes in front and one toe in back.)
  2. Stiff, yet elastic, tail feathers—tipped with spines, these rebounding supports are used with the feet as a tripod prop to hold the bird up while climbing or drilling.special feet
  3. Industrial-strength beak- A woodpecker’s chisel-tipped bill hammers wood at a rate of 16 times per second, or nearly 1,000 pecking blows per minute—a ‘rate of fire’ doubly fast as a submachine gun—with an impact velocity of 1,300 mph.the pecker
  4. Bone-reinforced and cartilage-padded skull—While drilling, the woodpecker’s head travels at more than twice the speed of a discharged bullet. At this speed (Over 1900 feet/second), any slight whiplash rotation of the head during drilling would tear away the bird’s brain upon impact. To prevent this, superbly coordinated neck muscles keep the head in perfect alignment with the beak during impact. The head and beak thus drive straight back and forth with no side movement at all. Shock-impact is further minimized by special muscles in the head which pull the woodpecker’s braincase away from its beak every time it strikes a blow. Unlike most birds, which have their bill fused directly to the bones of the cranium, the woodpecker’s bone-reinforced skull is physically separated from its beak by a remarkable sponge-like cartilage (recognized by scientists as being better than any shock absorber manufactured by man). This padding is essential to the bird’s survival when one considers that the suddenness with which the woodpecker’s head is brought to a halt during each peck results in a stress equivalent of 1,000 times the force of gravity. The head thus snaps back with an impact of deceleration more than 250 times that of the G-force gyrations experienced by the astronauts during a launch -pad liftoff!
  5. Slit-like nostrils- Both their long, narrow shape and their being covered by fine, wiry feathers helps to prevent the entering of sawdust which could hinder the woodpecker’s airflow.
  6. Extra -long tongue (loaded with “extras”) Again, unlike most birds whose tongue is anchored in their beaks, the woodpecker’s tongue is rooted in the right nostril where it is also rolled up and stored when not in use. When in use, the tongue, which can stretch three to times its normal length, emerges from the right nostril, splits into two halves which pass over opposite sides of the skull under the skin, comes around and up underneath the bill where it enters through an opening, and then out the beak through the hole drilled in the tree. Amazing! The extra-long tongue possesses glue-secreting glands with which to attach insects, sensitive nerve endings to determine the identity of the catch, and is tipped with a hard spearhead armed with rear-ward pointing bristles which firmly secure the bugs until they can be scraped off into the waiting mouth.

Evolutionists would like us to believe that the woodpecker’s uniquely designed feet, resilient tail feathers, reinforced skull, shock-absorbing cushioning, coordinated neck and head muscles, extra-strong beak, and extra-long tongue (With its highly engineered deployment/attachment/ retrieval / storage system) are the end -result of millions of years of blind, unguided chance-mutations. To make matters worse, the woodpeckers suppose evolutionary ancestors have left virtually no fossil evidence of their existence whatsoever!what feet

The fact of the matter is that in an irreducibly complex system, nothing works until everything works. The woodpecker must have been fully formed and functionally complete from the beginning, with all its specialized features intact right from the start in order to survive all that head-bashing. Its incredible design is evidenced, not of the cruel, mindless process of evolution, but of a loving, all-wise and intelligent Creator God.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chris
    Jun 08, 2016 @ 10:35:51

    Our God is an awesome God.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful article about the only possible answer to today’s problems, Manny. He is Creator. He is Master. He is Love. And the list goes on as you well know, my friend.

    I was having a discussion last night with an atheist who is convinced that their is something wrong with my mind because I am a Fundamentalist Christian. It took me awhile to get this truth out of her as she was kind enough to not want to hurt my feelings. I think it was because I had been kind to her. Well, it didn’t hurt my feelings but it did make me feel sad for her. She has expressed a similar “sadness” for those like us who don’t realize the “horror and absurdity of the human condition.”
    I actually like her as she has treated me well. Look at her opinion of our condition. It is similar to the truth of our sinful nature. But where is the other side? Where is the joy?

    Her comment to another person, who made a pretty serious error in a conversation, a man who is a Fundamentalist as myself or at least he claims to be, was ” I believe that XXXX will disappear into the same void as the rest of us.” The XXXX is mine as I will protect the name of the person.

    She told me what she believed to her credit. How this fits with Romans 1, I don’t know and I won’t speculate. What type of existence is this? There are fewer answers in this than we have by far. And how does one explain the woodpecker? And how does one explain how we got here.

    Some say that something came from nothing. Some say that “something has always been here, the same way Christians do. Just, you say God has always been here and they say a universe has always been here.”

    Some say: “I don’t know.”

    All three happened in the conversation that was quite friendly by the way.

    This statement was also made: “I’m saying that Eternal God With Intellect is still no more plausible than Eternal Universe…And no less plausible at the same time.”

    This was an interesting response to my statement:

    “I think we should be looking at all the facts, even the ones that make our side of things incorrect for the moment, as, in the end, I think we have to make a leap of some kind to something that may seem illogical because we are finite. As XXXXX states above, and I guess will count as my reply to you as well XXXXXX, the “universe has always been here.” This is almost the same as “God has always been here.” The only, and huge, difference between the two is an intellect on the one end.”

    In essence, I was saying: “Everyone believes, by faith, in something.” I stated it this way:

    “We are really not that different, XXXXX, except our views are reversed. What you call worthless, Christians call priceless. Statements like: ” it’s the horror and absurdity of the human condition” reflect how it would be if there were no God. Is that why I believe in God? You probably think so. For me there is much more to life than you have described. There is purpose. I will admit that I, in the end, I must believe this on faith. At the same time, many on your “side” believe that something came from nothing. I think that this requires faith. This is the way we are similar”


    “‘the “universe has always been here.’ This is almost the same as ‘God has always been here.’ The only, and huge, difference between the two is an intellect on the one end.”

    What we were all saying is that life has its mysteries. I was pleased that these atheists got that far. Do I understand the Trinity? Who can possibility understand it fully? And how many mysteries are there that we haven’t solved?

    It is humbling. It is humbling to look at the things described in this post. What an amazing designer we have! He created us to have a relationship with Him. Do we sin? Yes! Does God correct us? Yes!

    I have never been able to see the other “side” as we called it in the discussion.

    And I rejoice!!!


  2. Mannyr
    Jun 08, 2016 @ 17:01:45

    Thanks for sharing your conversation. It sounds like a real blessing to be able to have both sides calmly present their views. Great points of view vastly different.

    I hope XXXXX finds the truth by searching the foolish things of the Gospel. Praying for XXXXX.


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