An Ode To Winged Marvels

It’s not a Boeing 777. Most agree raptors are regal and lofty. Ornithologist revere them. However, a recent, unanticipated playlet by the inimitable humming bird, reminded this writer of this winged marvel’s uniqueness, shrouded in mystery. It transcended banality. Darting capriciously, nectar savvy, with the hum of it’s wings, was a poignant schema of the awe of Creation. Who can plumb the depths of this creature? The humming bird, and other winged creatures, are designed to do what they do; living wedges, perfectly shaped to cleave the atmosphere in flight. Michelangelo’s sketches reveal he took note of this design.

With the aid of a Canon stop action camera, one can observe this marvelous, tiny creature flap its wings, in a figure eight pattern, at a rate of nearly eighty times per second. To hover, it reduces that rate to about fifteen per second. Perhaps it inspired Igor Sikorsky. Humming birds call it “hover drive.“ An unsurpassed mystery. Veiled in creative design, birds are equipped to resist the law of gravity, able to live by their very nature in their environs, which tolerate men for only hours, and then, as we observe tragically, often exacting the penalty of death for his intrusion into their realm.

There’s no stronger evidence of creative design than the “American dipper,” or ouzel, a bird peculiar to the Pacific Coast. A stocky grey bird, with a brown tinged head, smallish, only about 16 cm long. This species, like other “dippers,” has an extra eye-lid, called a “nictitating membrane,” that enables it to see underwater, and it has scales that closes its nostrils when submerged. According to ornithologists, the ouzel is the most buoyant of birds. They float on water surfaces like “grease,” appearing to ride atop the water, rather than partially submerged, as the goose or duck. One observer recorded that it behaves like both a leaden sinker, and a feather on water. It can suddenly, from a position of floating like fog on the surface, impossibly sinking to the bottom, calmly walking about on the bottom, as though it was an anchor of iron, rather than flesh and bones.

When the feeding ouzel has filled its beak, it surfaces, wades out to the nearest bank, shakes itself, swallows its mouthful of food, and quickly reverts to floating calmly again, on the surface of the moving stream. How’s this amazing conduct possible? It possess specific equipment, which argues for specific creation. This amazing bird has a special muscular apparatus that instantly exhausts the air from its body, and gives it the light weight required to sink in swift water, and to remain down. A flying, feathered submarine with legs. A three world creature. Air, land and water.

As the bird navigates to the bank, and fills its body again with air, it instantly regains the formerly lost buoyancy, and floats away on the stream as before. To float like a cork, or sink like a stone, at will, requires what the late 20th Century, creationist advocate, Harry Rimmer, described, “A design that is at present, past the ability of man, and no human could design or conceive such a creature as the ouzel!” Staunch evolutionists contend it “evolved.” If these traits are not divinely imparted, who taught the first ouzel?

Mortals make much of the human visage. We ascribe attributes like, “stunningly beautiful,” or “homely.” However, in the world of birds, we discover that the face and multiplicity of its structure, is designed for a specific purpose. For example, how could the toucan crack a nut, if it had the face like a canary? Or conversely, how could the canary pick up the minute seed that constitutes its diet, if it had a face like a toucan? The pelican, described as “nature’s best fisherman,” has at birth, not only a “fish net” for a face, but a pouch to hold its catch. Amazing design?

Consider the plight of the chicken, unlike the duck, that picks up seeds, scraps, bugs and worms on dry land. However, a duck must descend to the bottom of the pond, and dredge its food from the mud and muck on the floor of the environment it’s born to love. The duck, is most miserable away from the water, and the chicken would perish in the water, if both were not designed for their separate spheres of dwelling. If the chicken had the bill of a duck, it would surely perish. God’s design was just what each winged creature needed, made “after its own kind.” Even the feet of winged creatures argue for intelligent design. The chicken would be awkwardly handicapped with webbed feet. The eagle or hawk’s claws, designed to hold struggling prey, would go hungry with webbed feet. The eagle beak‘s designed for carnivorous appetite. “No duck bill, please!”

What about the mud-hen, and coot, long-legged, short winged, which is a frequenter of swamplands? It requires navigation on both land and water for food. For swimming, pleaded James Audubon, it needed some sort of webs, yet it feeds on the land, it would be unable to run or scratch if it had the webs of the duck. Dilemma? To fit this bird, God gave the American coot, webs that fold tightly around is toes, when it walks around on the land. Thus, it’s able to scratch and run like the chicken. When it retreats to the water, its webs automatically unfold, and it’s able to swim as no chicken ever could. It’s neither duck or chicken. It’s exactly what He designed it to be.

Indisputably, winged creatures are magnificent. However, Jesus declared, “Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Good news for we mortals. Ornithologically speaking, how does the canary maintain equilibrium to unceasingly perch, awake or sleeping, yet never fall? Fortuitous beneficence? Or, was it the Grand Designer? We can agree, “They brighten our existence.” What do you think?

Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s roderickstj@yahoo.com

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