Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Woodpeckers and Tylenol

There are many sound of summer I enjoy, including birds in the morning, cicadas in the evening (when they're not overbearingly loud), and the occasional woodpecker.

As I was walking to the church this morning, I heard one right above me. It took me a few moments to spot him because he wasn't as brightly outfitted as Woody Woodpecker, nor was he big.

His hammering was rapid, and I marveled that woodpeckers don't need Tylenol or something stronger, and I marveled at our God who made them.

Curious still while sitting before my computer, I looked up woodpeckers on the Internet.

Woodpeckers can hammer away up to 20 blows per second. Wow! You can listen to a slow one here, but the one in my neighborhood is much faster.

Woodpeckers drill for food, bugs and whatnot, and they have long sticky tongues with which to extract the bugs from the holes they drill, some tongues being up to 4" long.

Their heads are designed (the websites I consulted claim evolution) to allow the woodpeckers to drill away without any sort of concussion or even a headache. The contact between brain and skull is much greater than in human beings; that is, the brain is packed much tighter. I've moved enough books to know that if I want my books to survive the move, I pack them tightly in a box, not loosely. The fluid on the brain is a great deal less than ours, too, reducing shock waves. The birds also make sure they are hitting the wood straight on; wrenching the neck or turning it would increase the chance of brain damage.

(On the other hand, the fact that they bang their heads repeatedly against trees in order to eat bugs may suggest brain damage.)

What a wonderfully creative God we have!

Further reading? Try Wikipedia and Trendy Science.

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