THE WORLD OF BIRDS 

THE MIRACLE OF TALKING BIRDS-I

Each and every species on Earth has been created with miraculous characteristics and wondrous skills. Even in one single living species, we can find abundant proof of God’s magnificent creation. According to one verse of the Qur’an:

There is no creature crawling on the Earth or flying creature, flying on its wings, who are not communities just like yourselves—We have not omitted anything from the Book—then they will be gathered to their Lord. (Qur’an, 6:38)

This verse draws our attention to birds which, of all living creatures, are worthy of special consideration and observation. There are approximately ten thousand different species of birds, many of which have miraculous characteristics. Wherever we live, we may encounter many of these creatures and can admire the different aspects of each variety. They exhibit countless examples of the evidence of creation, through their aesthetic appearance, their perfect flying mechanisms, their expertise in migration, their nest-making skills and their self-sacrificing behavior.

 


 Meanwhile, other species of birds are created with a special aptitude for forming social groups. Many varieties live together as a community, warn one another of danger, work collectively to find food and shelter, and make various sacrifices to help each other out in any number of ways. (For detailed information, see Harun Yahya, Devotion Among Animals: Revealing the Work of God). As God pointed out in the Qur’an, these creatures are capable of establishing their own form of communication and performing in cooperative ways the duties inspired in them by God.
 
Some birds distinguish themselves by their superior intelligence and special talents. These particular species are defined as birds that can imitate sounds, include the parrots, songbirds, and hummingbirds. Many of us have heard about, seen on television or even personally witnessed these birds’ ability to talk. However, we may not have considered what a great miracle it is that these creatures can mimic in this way, or to the perfection of the way in which God has created them.
 
These creatures’ being hatched with their ability to talk or imitate sounds is one of the miracles of creation and, at the same time invalidates the claims of evolutionary theory.


The Special Design which Enables Birds to Produce Sound


 Talking, or even imitating sound, is not just a simple matter of opening and closing the mouth, as some people believe. A complex system is required for this action to take place, and all parts of this system must be synchronized in perfect working order. Birds with a talent for sound mimicry enjoy all of these requirements and demonstrate their ability in extraordinary ways.
 
Some of these species have a talent rarely found in any other creature except man. The best example of this are parrots, which can imitate, in addition to human speech, a wide range of sounds that even humans can’t duplicate convincingly—for example, as the creaking of a door, the cap being removed from a bottle, a ringing telephone, or a tune being whistled. This talent to imitate, observable in parrots and some other bird species, is not an ability that can be acquired by coincidence. For any living creature to imitate a sound it has heard, it needs to have complex physiological structures already in place. Particularly in the case of birds that can closely imitate the human voice in terms of tone, stress and expression, these structures must be very sophisticated.
 
 
For a bird to reproduce a word or a melody it has heard, it needs to have an appropriate physical structure. Its sense of hearing must be functioning perfectly, and it must be able to memorize the information received by the senses and the ability to conceptualize meaning in its own terms.
 
People are astonished the first time they hear a parrot say “Hello!” when the phone rings, ask “Who is it?” when the doorbell rings, or greet someone familiar by name. But even though it’s an astonishing achievement for a bird to say even one word, many don’t really give it due consideration. Over time, they may even come to see it as normal and commonplace.
 
Not only does the bird see and recognize the person approaching; what’s more, the bird knows how to react to a person it knows. It remembers—and reproduces—words it associates with that person. This is evident proof that the bird has an accurate memory. If we consider that some species of birds seem to understand questions they are asked and give a seemingly logical answer, the issue becomes even more complex. One important example of this is a trained grey parrot by the name of Alex. When he’s presented with a red (rose) piece of paper and asked “What color?” he answers “rose.”1
 
A bird possessing such talents is a great wonder of creation, for birds and other animals do not have free will and reason, and do not share the human characteristics of thought, the ability to make conscious decisions and the determination to carry them out. The ability to talk and imitate sounds is taught by God to certain species of birds. These creatures do not talk because of their own rational thought, will or consciousness, but through God’s inspiration. In a verse of the Qur’an, God conveys that He is supreme over all living creatures: “… There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock…” (Qur’an, 11:56) All the wondrous characteristics of birds that can imitate sounds are just part of the evidence God shows to man so we may witness the magnificence of His creation.


The Physical Formation of Sound in Birds


 You might assume that in order for a parrot to be able to imitate the human voice—to use a person’s same spoken words, stresses and pronunciation—they must possess a larynx whose structure is similar to a human’s. However, the structure of the human larynx bears no resemblance to these creatures’ physical structures. The larynx, vocal cords, tongue, lips, palate and teeth that humans use in speech are completely different in birds, and some do not exist at all. But even though all birds lack these structures, still these species can reproduce phrases spoken by humans—and in the same tones. If we consider that a person without a tongue is unable to speak or that we lose our voice if the vocal cords are damaged, it’s also worth considering that parrots, budgerigars, and mynahs, members of the crow family, have completely different physical characteristics which nevertheless enable them to talk in the same way as humans.


 
There are other differences between the systems that humans and birds use to produce vocal sounds.

We produce most sounds by expelling air from the lungs through the larynx. Different sounds are created, according to the degree of vibration of the vocal cords. The position of the tongue and lips and the flow of air through the mouth or nasal cavity are only a few of the many other factors affecting sound production. The pharynx, found in humans, lets the tongue divide the vocal tract above the larynx into two cavities with their own distinct resonances. Where these resonances occur, the overtones of the frequencies (or number of vibrations) from the vocal cords are amplified. Formants (from the Latin formare: to shape, or form) are resonant frequencies of the vocal tract, the natural shapes that air assumes in the vocal passage. When you make a consonant, for example, this has an effect on the formants of the neighbouring vowels, raising or lowering formants as the vowel sound gets closer to the corsonant. Experiments have shown that two formants are sufficient in order to differentiate speech sounds from each other.2
 
Birds have no larynx similar to a human’s, but do have a special vocal organ, known as the syrinx, that enables them to produce sounds. In birds, air from the lungs passes through this organ. In a sense, the bird’s syrinx is the equivalent of our human larynx. One of the principal differences is that in humans, our vocal cords are positioned closer to the windpipe. So far, the fact that the bird’s syrinx is deep inside the body has prevented scientists from obtaining a complete answer as to how birds produce sound.


Scientists have filmed birds using infra-red and x-ray cameras, and have made close studies of their song and speech by means of fiber-optic microscopes inserted in their throats. Yet we still cannot explain the physical process by which birds produce song and imitate sounds.
 
Within the bird’s breast, its vocal organ is like a branched instrument, located at where its voice box meets the two bronchial tubes. As shown on in the picture, one branch of the syrinx opens into one bronchus and the second branch into the other; and either one of these two bronchi can produce sound. Some birds can use either both sides of their voice organ simultaneously, or one of the two independently and, by this means, can produce two separate tones of the same frequency, at the same time. They can sing a high note with one side, while producing a low note with the other. And since the bird’s vocal organ is situated at the juncture of the two bronchial tubes, it can produce sound from two different sources. This even allows the bird to produce two different notes simultaneously, and even to sing a duet with itself. To a great extent, sounds produced here are subsequently combined, giving birds the potential of creating rich melodies. While humans use only about 2% of the air they inhale to produce sound, birds have the ability to use it all. 3
 
The syrinx is located in a pouch within the clavicle below the bird’s throat. The membrane covering this pouch is sensitive to the air coming from the lungs, and its elasticity and complexity of the membrane are factors that determine the quality of sounds. The sound quality is also affected by the length of the windpipe, the constriction of the voice box, the neck muscles, structure of the beak, and their respective movements. In short, the complexity of the birds’ syrinx determines the complexity of the sounds they produce. Its muscles affect the air flow and consequently, the quality of the sound. In parrots, budgerigars, and some songbirds, the syrinx has a greater number of muscles, and its structure is more complex.
 
Furthermore, the different techniques that parrots and budgerigars employ for imitating the human voice are most effective. Like humans, parrots have thick tongues that enable them to produce sounds resembling ours. Sound is produced by blowing air through two separate places in their syrinx, and at the same time producing the independent sounds required to produce consonants. The initial sound from the syrinx is shaped with the help of the throat, and then in the mouth with the tongue. In their research studies with grey parrots, Dianne Patterson and Irene Pepperberg reached important conclusions on vowel production: Due to the radically different anatomy of this parrot’s vocal organ, even though they lack teeth and lips, they can produce sounds that closely resemble sounds produced by humans.4 Indeed, parrots and budgerigars can quite clearly imitate sounds such as “m” and “b,” which we normally produce with the help of our lips.
 
Budgerigars, however, due to their small size, are not able to use the same technique as parrots.


Using their syrinx to create frequencies from 2,000 to 3,000 Hz, they then add on a second vibration. This system is known as frequency modulation or FM, the principle behind the AM (amplitude modulation) radios to be found in practically every home. These days, many FM broadcasting stations add low transmitters to their signals which, in common with normal signals, are adjustable through a transmitter, but are of a very high frequency. While the frequency of normal signals varies from 20 to 20,000 Hz, the frequency of many low transmitters starts at 56,000 Hz. The main reason for using the FM system is to offset the major disadvantage of the AM system—namely, the interference of many natural or man-made radio sounds, called “parasites.” Because the weak signals of AM radio are quieter than the stronger ones, differences in signal level are formed, which are then perceived as noise. AM receivers have no facility for cutting out these parasitic sounds.
 
To solve this problem, Edwin H. Armstrong invented a system for eliminating noise caused by the power of the waves. Instead of changing the transmission signal or the strength of the transmitter, he changed the frequency of sound waves per second. Thanks to this system, the amplitude of noise (strength of sound waves) could be reduced to a minimum. But scientists are still mystified how budgerigars manage to use this same system.
 
Of course, no little budgerigar can possibly work out for itself from the time it is hatched how to apply a series of principles discovered by man only after long trials. In the same way, no parrot can know that it must produce auxiliary sounds in order to make consonants distinct or to develop systems in its throat to enable it to do so. Also, it’s not possible for such a system to be the end product of a series of blind coincidences. All these complex systems are without doubt, the work of God, the Creator.


There is No Room for Coincidences in God's Creation


 Most humans, with their far superior intelligence, have difficulty in imitating other voices or speech while these little birds are able to imitate many sounds they have heard with perfection, showing how exceptionally skilled they are. Scientific research has concluded that this perfect mechanism in birds is a masterpiece of design. God’s supreme knowledge and art, as shown in the magnificence of His creation, is too evident to be obscured by deceitful theories. Swans, peacocks, brightly colored parrots, budgerigars and an infinite variety of living creatures invalidate any claims of coincidence and demonstrate the infinite power of the Lord, our Creator.
 
Darwinists insist on trying to attribute this perfect system to coincidences. According to their mentality, all the living creatures we see around us, all the skills they possess, and all their aesthetics and beauty are products of blind chance. The truth is, it’s not possible to explain away the consciousness and design seen in all living creatures, at all times, with coincidences. It is purely because of ideology that Darwinists cannot see this evident reality—or rather, they do see it but won’t accept it. These people cling to evolutionary theory out of their belief that it explains the mechanism of life. Accepting that it cannot forces them to accept the only possible and true alternative explanation, which is the truth of creation. This results in the complete collapse of Darwinism and any related materialist ideologies.


 The thousands of examples that we see around us, but which the Darwinists pretend not to, are important pieces of evidence that destroy the distorted philosophies of those who deny the miracles of God’s creation. Every person with a conscience will see in the wonderful structures of living creatures, and in the exceptional balance of the universe, the power of our Supreme and Omnipresent Lord. Darwinism and, consequently, the materialist philosophy that has deceived the world for nearly two centuries, will collapse. People will perceive the existence of God and start to live according to the beautiful ethics bidden by our Lord. The invalid system of thought that forms the basis of Darwinism will be completely destroyed, as God makes known in a verse of the Qur’an:

Rather We hurl the truth against falsehood and it cuts right through it and it vanishes clean away! (Qur’an, 21:18)

“To purchase the works of Harun Yahya, please visit www.bookglobal.net.”
1- Irene Maxine Pepperberg, The Alex Studies, Harvard University Press, England, 1999, pp. 46-47.
2- http://www.linguistlist.org/~ask-ling/archive-1997.10/msg01480.html
3- http://www.eeb.uconn.edu/courses/Ornithology/EEB281_1_Vocalizations.htm
4- Lesley J. Rogers & Gisela Kaplan, Songs, Roars and Rituals, Communication In Birds, Mammals and Other Animals, USA, 2000, p. 81.

 

THE MIRACLE OF TALKING BIRDS - II

The Physical Formation of Sound in Birds

You might assume that in order for a parrot to be able to imitate the human voice—to use a person’s same spoken words, stresses and pronunciation—they must possess a larynx whose structure is similar to a human’s. However, the structure of the human larynx bears no resemblance to these creatures’ physical structures. The larynx, vocal cords, tongue, lips, palate and teeth that humans use in speech are completely different in birds, and some do not exist at all. But even though all birds lack these structures, still these species can reproduce phrases spoken by humans—and in the same tones. If we consider that a person without a tongue is unable to speak or that we lose our voice if the vocal cords are damaged, it’s also worth considering that parrots, budgerigars, and mynahs, members of the crow family, have completely different physical characteristics which nevertheless enable them to talk in the same way as humans.

There are other differences between the systems that humans and birds use to produce vocal sounds. We produce most sounds by expelling air from the lungs through the larynx. Different sounds are created, according to the degree of vibration of the vocal cords. The position of the tongue and lips and the flow of air through the mouth or nasal cavity are only a few of the many other factors affecting sound production. The pharynx, found in humans, lets the tongue divide the vocal tract above the larynx into two cavities with their own distinct resonances. Where these resonances occur, the overtones of the frequencies (or number of vibrations) from the vocal cords are amplified. Formants (from the Latin formare: to shape, or form) are resonant frequencies of the vocal tract, the natural shapes that air assumes in the vocal passage. When you make a consonant, for example, this has an effect on the formants of the neighbouring vowels, raising or lowering formants as the vowel sound gets closer to the corsonant. Experiments have shown that two formants are sufficient in order to differentiate speech sounds from each other. i

Birds have no larynx similar to a human’s, but do have a special vocal organ, known as the syrinx, that enables them to produce sounds. In birds, air from the lungs passes through this organ. In a sense, the bird’s syrinx is the equivalent of our human larynx. One of the principal differences is that in humans, our vocal cords are positioned closer to the windpipe. So far, the fact that the bird’s syrinx is deep inside the body has prevented scientists from obtaining a complete answer as to how birds produce sound. Scientists have filmed birds using infra-red and x-ray cameras, and have made close studies of their song and speech by means of fiber-optic microscopes inserted in their throats. Yet we still cannot explain the physical process by which birds produce song and imitate sounds.

Within the bird’s breast, its vocal organ is like a branched instrument, located at where its voice box meets the two bronchial tubes. As shown on in the picture, one branch of the syrinx opens into one bronchus and the second branch into the other; and either one of these two bronchi can produce sound. Some birds can use either both sides of their voice organ simultaneously, or one of the two independently and, by this means, can produce two separate tones of the same frequency, at the same time. They can sing a high note with one side, while producing a low note with the other. And since the bird’s vocal organ is situated at the juncture of the two bronchial tubes, it can produce sound from two different sources. This even allows the bird to produce two different notes simultaneously, and even to sing a duet with itself. To a great extent, sounds produced here are subsequently combined, giving birds the potential of creating rich melodies. While humans use only about 2% of the air they inhale to produce sound, birds have the ability to use it all. ii

The syrinx is located in a pouch within the clavicle below the bird’s throat. The membrane covering this pouch is sensitive to the air coming from the lungs, and its elasticity and complexity of the membrane are factors that determine the quality of sounds. The sound quality is also affected by the length of the windpipe, the constriction of the voice box, the neck muscles, structure of the beak, and their respective movements. In short, the complexity of the birds’ syrinx determines the complexity of the sounds they produce. Its muscles affect the air flow and consequently, the quality of the sound. In parrots, budgerigars, and some songbirds, the syrinx has a greater number of muscles, and its structure is more complex.

Furthermore, the different techniques that parrots and budgerigars employ for imitating the human voice are most effective. Like humans, parrots have thick tongues that enable them to produce sounds resembling ours. Sound is produced by blowing air through two separate places in their syrinx, and at the same time producing the independent sounds required to produce consonants. The initial sound from the syrinx is shaped with the help of the throat, and then in the mouth with the tongue. In their research studies with grey parrots, Dianne Patterson and Irene Pepperberg reached important conclusions on vowel production: Due to the radically different anatomy of this parrot’s vocal organ, even though they lack teeth and lips, they can produce sounds that closely resemble sounds produced by humans. iii Indeed, parrots and budgerigars can quite clearly imitate sounds such as “m” and “b,” which we normally produce with the help of our lips.

Budgerigars, however, due to their small size, are not able to use the same technique as parrots. Using their syrinx to create frequencies from 2,000 to 3,000 Hz, they then add on a second vibration. This system is known as frequency modulation or FM, the principle behind the AM (amplitude modulation) radios to be found in practically every home. These days, many FM broadcasting stations add low transmitters to their signals which, in common with normal signals, are adjustable through a transmitter, but are of a very high frequency. While the frequency of normal signals varies from 20 to 20,000 Hz, the frequency of many low transmitters starts at 56,000 Hz. The main reason for using the FM system is to offset the major disadvantage of the AM system—namely, the interference of many natural or man-made radio sounds, called “parasites.” Because the weak signals of AM radio are quieter than the stronger ones, differences in signal level are formed, which are then perceived as noise. AM receivers have no facility for cutting out these parasitic sounds.

To solve this problem, Edwin H. Armstrong invented a system for eliminating noise caused by the power of the waves. Instead of changing the transmission signal or the strength of the transmitter, he changed the frequency of sound waves per second. Thanks to this system, the amplitude of noise (strength of sound waves) could be reduced to a minimum. But scientists are still mystified how budgerigars manage to use this same system.

Of course, no little budgerigar can possibly work out for itself from the time it is hatched how to apply a series of principles discovered by man only after long trials. In the same way, no parrot can know that it must produce auxiliary sounds in order to make consonants distinct or to develop systems in its throat to enable it to do so. Also, it’s not possible for such a system to be the end product of a series of blind coincidences. All these complex systems are without doubt, the work of God, the Creator.

Birds’ Sense of Hearing

For birds to display their talents in communicating by sound, song and in the case of some birds, words, they require excellent hearing. At critical times in their lives, their sense of hearing becomes particularly important. Experiments have shown that in order for birds to learn their species’ song, they need an auditory feedback system. Thanks to this system, young birds learn to compare the sounds they produce themselves with the patterns of a song they have memorized. If they were deaf, it wouldn’t normally be possible for them to sing recognizable songs. iv

Birds’ ears are well equipped for hearing, but they hear in a different way from us. For them to recognize a tune, they have to hear it in always the same octave (a series of seven notes), whereas we can recognize a tune even if we hear it in a different octave. Birds cannot, but can instead recognize timbre—a fundamental note combined with harmonies. The ability to recognize timbre and harmonic variations lets birds hear and reply to many diverse sounds, and sometimes even reproduce them.

Birds can also hear shorter notes than we can. Humans process sounds in bytes in about 1/20th of a second v ,  whereas birds can distinguish these sounds in 1/200th of a second, which means that birds are superior at separating sounds that arrive in very rapid succession. vi In other words, a bird’s capacity to perceive sound is approximately ten times greater, and in every note heard by a human, it can hear ten.  Moreover, some birds are also able to hear lower sounds than we are. Their hearing sensitivity is so finely tuned that they can even tell the difference between pieces by such famous composers as Bach and Stravinsky.

Birds’ extremely sensitive hearing functions perfectly. Clearly, each of this sense’s components is created by special design, for if any one failed to work properly, the bird would not be able to hear anything. This point also disproves the theory that hearing evolved or emerged gradually, as a result of coincidental influences.

To purchase the works of Harun Yahya, please visit www.bookglobal.net

i    http://www.linguistlist.org/~ask-ling/archive-1997.10/msg01480.html
ii   http://www.eeb.uconn.edu/courses/Ornithology/EEB281_1_Vocalizations.htm
iii  Lesley J. Rogers & Gisela Kaplan, Songs, Roars and Rituals, Communication In Birds, Mammals and Other Animals, USA, 2000, p. 81.
iv   http://instruct1.cit.cornell.edu/courses/bionb424/students/mdr17/neurophysiology.html
v    http://www.earthlife.net/birds/hearing.html
vi   Theodore Xenophon Barber, Phd., The Human Nature of Birds, USA, 1993, p. 36.
vii  Theodore Xenophon Barber, Phd., The Human Nature of Birds, USA, 1993, p. 37.

 

THE DESIGN OF THE WOODPECKER

As we all know, woodpeckers build their nests by boring holes in tree trunks with their beaks. This may sound familiar to most people. But the point many people fail to examine is why woodpeckers suffer no brain haemorrhage when they beat a tattoo so vigorously with their heads. What the woodpecker does is in a way similar to a human being driving a nail into the wall with his head. If a man ventured to do something like that, he would probably undergo a brain shock followed by a brain haemorrhage. However, a woodpecker can peck a hard tree trunk 38-43 times in just two or three seconds and nothing happens to it.(1)
 
Nothing happens because the head structure of woodpeckers is ideally created for such a task. The skull of the woodpecker has a remarkable suspension system that absorbs the force of the blows. Its forehead and some skull muscles adjoined to its beak and the jaw joint are so robust that they help lessen the effect of the forceful strokes during pecking.(2)


 Design and planning do not end here. Preferring primarily pine trees, woodpeckers check the age of the trees before boring a hole in them and pick those older than 100 years, because pine trees older than 100 years suffer an illness that causes the hard and thick bark to soften.
This was only recently discovered by science and perhaps you may be reading of it here for the first time in your life; woodpeckers have known it for centuries.
 
This is not the only reason why woodpeckers prefer pine trees. Woodpeckers dig cavities around their nests, the function of which was not originally understood. These cavities were later understood to protect them from a great danger. Over time, the sticky resin that leaks from the pine trees fills up the cavities and the outpost of the woodpecker's nest is thus filled with a pool whereby woodpeckers can be protected from snakes, their greatest enemies.
 
Another interesting feature of woodpeckers is that their tongues are thin enough to penetrate even ants' nests in the trees. Their tongues are also sticky, which allows them to collect the ants that live there. The perfection in their creation is further revealed by the fact that their tongues have a structure which prevents them from being harmed by the acid in the bodies of the ants.(3)
 
Woodpeckers, each of whose characteristics is discussed in a different paragraph above, prove with all their detailed features that they are 'created'. If woodpeckers had evolved coincidentally as the theory of evolution claims, they would have died before they acquired such extraordinarily consistent traits and they would be extinct. However, as they were created by God with a special 'design' adapted to their life, they started their lives by bearing all the vital characteristics.
____________________________________________
(1) Grzimeks Tierleben Vögel 3, Deutscher Taschen Buch Verlag, Oktober 1993, p. 92
(2) Ibid, p. 89
(3) Ibid, pp. 87-88

THE PHYSICAL BASIS OF THE BEAUTY IN PEACOCK FEATHERS REVEALED

Nobody looking at the patterns in peacock feathers can avoid being amazed at their beauty. One of the latest pieces of research by scientists has revealed that there is an astonishing design at the basis of these patterns.
 
Chinese scientists have discovered a delicate mechanism of tiny hairs in peacock feathers filtering and reflecting different wavelengths of light. According to a study performed by Fudan University physicist Jian Zi and colleagues, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the feathers' bright colors are produced not by pigments, but by tiny, two-dimensional crystal-like structures. (1)
 
Zi and his colleagues used powerful electron microscopes to reveal the basis of the colors in the feathers. They examined the barbules of the male green peacock (Pavo rnuticus), in other words the even smaller micro hairs that come off of barbs emerging from the central stem of the feather. Under the microscope, they encountered the lattice design in the black-and-white picture to the right. This consisted of rods made of melanin, a protein, bound together with keratin, another protein. The researchers observed that these two-dimensional structures, each with a width hundreds of times thinner than a human hair, were arranged one behind the other on the micro hairs. Using additional optical examinations and calculations, the scientists examined the spaces between the crystals and their effects. As a result, it was revealed that the dimensions and shapes of these spaces in the lattice led to light being reflected at slightly different angles and thus to a variation in color.


 "The male peacock tail contains spectacular beauty because of the brilliant, iridescent, diversified, colorful eye patterns," said Zi, who continued, "when I watched the eye pattern against the sunshine, I was amazed by the stunning beauty of the feathers." (2) Zi stated that until their study, the exact physical mechanism producing the colors in peacock feathers had not been known, and that although the mechanisms they had revealed were simple, they were absolutely ingenious.
 
Obviously, there is a very specially regulated design in peacock feather patterns. The tiny lattices and spaces between them are of the greatest importance in this design. The adjustment between the spaces is particularly striking. Were these not so arranged as to reflect light at slightly different angles to one another, then this variation in color would not take place.
 
The greater part of the color in the peacock feather is based upon structural coloration. There is no pigment in those parts of the feather that exhibit structural coloration, and colors reminiscent of those on the surface of a soap bubble are able to emerge. The color of human hair comes from pigment, and no matter how much care a person may take of his or her hair, it is never as shiny and beautiful as a peacock feather.
 
It has also been stated that this intelligent design in the peacock can be a source of inspiration in industrial design. Andrew Parker, a zoologist and coloration expert at the University of Oxford, who interpreted Zi's findings says that discovering so-called photonic crystals in peacock feathers could allow scientists to adapt the structures for industrial and commercial applications. These crystals could be used to channel light in telecommunications equipment, or to create new tiny computer chips. (3)
 
It is clear that the peacock has marvelous patterns and a special design, and that thanks to the imitation of this mechanism, maybe in the near future, we shall see objects and accessories covered in the brightest of coatings. Yet how did such a gorgeous, intelligent and inspirational design first emerge? Could the peacock know that the colors in its feathers depended on crystals and the spaces between them? Could the feather have itself brought the feathers on its body into being and later have decided to add a coloring mechanism to them?
Could it then have arranged that mechanism in such a way as to produce those stunning designs? Of course, not.
 
For example, if we were to encounter marvelous patterns made out of colored stones as we walked beside the edge of a river, and if we also saw that there were eye-like designs arranged like a fan, then we would think that these had been laid out in a conscious manner, and not that they had appeared by chance. It would be evident that these patterns, reflecting an artistic perspective and addressing human aesthetic tastes, had been made by an artist. The same thing applies to peacock feathers. In the same way that pictures and designs reveal the existence of the artists who produced them, the patterns in the peacock feather reveal the existence of the Creator Who made them. There can be no doubt but that it is God Who brought together and arranged the crystal-like structures in the peacock feather and produced such marvelous patterns from them. God reveals His flawless creation in a verse from the Qur'an:
 
He is God - the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the heavens and Earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Qur'an, 59:24)

1- Jian Zi et al, "Coloration strategies in peacock feathers", PNAS 2003;100 12576-12578; http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/100/22/12576?etoc
2- John Pickrell , "Physics Plucks Secret of Peacock Feather Colors", 17 Ekim 2003, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/10/1016_031017_peacockcolors.html
3- Ibid.

 

HOW DO BIRDS BUILD THEIR SPECTACULAR CONSTRUCTIONS?

Birds are the ultimate nest-builders. Each different species has its own unique nest-building techniques and constructs these structures without ever getting confused.

When the parent birds leave the nest to search for food, their offspring are completely defenseless. Their nests that are concealed with great skill in treetops, holes in trees and cliffs, or even amidst tall grass, provide a safe, hidden shelter for the chicks.

Another purpose of the nests is to provide protection from the cold. Birds are hatched featherless, and since their muscles do not get exercised within the egg, they are relatively immobile and thus need nests to insulate them from the cold. Woven nests in particular trap body heat, providing warmth for the chicks—but constructing these structures is a detailed and difficult undertaking. The female builds the nest by carefully weaving grasses, twigs, and scavenged yarn over a fairly long period of time. She cushions the inside with feathers, hair and fine grass, thereby further insulating the nest. i

For every type of nest, finding the right building materials is essential. Birds can spend a whole day in their quest for the building materials their structure needs. Their beaks and talons are designed for carrying and arranging the materials they gather. The male bird chooses the location of the nest, and the female builds it.

These nests' features depend on the materials and techniques used in their construction. All building materials for their architectural masterworks must be pliable and compressible. Nests are built taking into account the elasticity, durability and toughness of the different materials birds use—mud, leaves, feathers, cellulose and the like. This increases the structure's durability. Using plant fibers mixed with mud, for instance, prevents cracks from developing.

First, birds mix the mortar from the materials they gather. One species that uses this technique is the cliff swallow, which builds its nests on cliffs and the walls of buildings, using mud as an adhesive to glue their nests together. They gather mud and feathers and transport them in their beaks to the construction site, where they mix mud with their saliva, smearing the mixture against the face of the cliff to form a pot-shaped structure with a round opening on top. This structure they fill with grass, moss, and feathers. Usually they build these structures in cavities under overhanging cliffs, to prevent rain from softening and thus destroying the nest. ii

Some South African birds like the penduline-tit build nests comprised of two compartments. The real entrance to the brooding chamber is concealed, while the other entrance is readily visible, presenting a false doorway to any predators. iii

The oropendola, a large and quite distinctive bird, builds its nest next to the those of wasps, which automatically keep snakes, monkeys, toucans and botflies (a type of fly deadly for these birds), from approaching their nests. iv In this way, the oropendola protects its young from the dangers that all these creatures pose for their young.

The "Stitched" Nests of Tailor Birds

The tailor bird of India has a beak like a sewing needle. As thread, it uses silk from cobwebs, cotton from seeds, and fibers of tree bark. This bird selects two or more large green leaves growing close together at the end of a branch and pulls them together. It then punches holes along the edges of each leaf, and pulls the spider silk or plant fiber through the holes to sew the leaves together, finally tying knots in each stitch to keep it from slipping. It does the same on the other side, stitching the leaves together, taking approximately six stitches to curve a leaf around. Eventually the bird fills this resulting purse with grass. v Finally, it weaves another nest into the purse, where the female will lay her eggs. vi

Weaver Birds

Naturalists consider these birds' nests to be the most astonishing structures built by birds. This species uses plant fibers and tall plant stems to weave themselves extremely solid nests.

First of all, a weaver bird collects the building materials. It will cut long strips from leaves or extract the midrib from a fresh green leaf. There is a reason for its choice of fresh leaves: The veins of dry leaves would be stiff and brittle, too difficult to bend, but fresh ones make the work much easier. The weaver bird begins by tying the leaf fibers around the twig of a tree. With its foot, it holds down one end of the strip against the twig while taking the other end in its beak. To prevent the fibers from falling away, it ties them together with knots. Slowly it forms a circular shape that will become the entrance to the nest. Then it uses its beak to weave the other fibers together. During the weaving process, it must calculate the required tension, because if it's too weak, the nest will collapse. Also it needs to be able to visualize the finished structure, since while building the walls, it must determine where the structure needs to be widened.  vii

Once it finishes weaving the entrance, it proceeds to weave the walls. To do so, it hangs upside down and keeps on working from the inside of the structure. It will push one fiber under another and pull it along with its beak, until it accomplishes a stunning weaving project. viii

The weaver bird won't just begin building its nest. It proceeds by calculating in advance what it needs to do next—first, collecting the most suitable building materials, then forming the entrance before going on to build the walls. It knows perfectly well where to thin or thicken the structure, and where to form a curve. Its behavior displays intelligence and skill, with no trace of inexperience. With no training, it can do two things at once—holding down one end of the fiber with its feet, while guiding the other end with its beak. None of its movements is coincidental; its every action is conscious and purposeful.


Another member of the weaver bird family builds a solid, rainproof nest. This bird obtains the perfect mortar by gathering plant fibers from the environment and mixing them with its saliva, which gives the plant fibers both elasticity and makes them waterproof.

Weaver birds repeat this process until their nest is complete. It's no doubt impossible to claim that they have acquired these skills unconsciously, by chance. These birds construct their nests like an architect, construction engineer, and site foreman all rolled into one.

Another interesting example of nest building is performed by sociable weaver birds of southern Africa, which nest in a single huge, cooperatively built structure with separate entrances. With the ingenuity of accomplished architects, sociable weavers build these nests, some of which are home to as many as 600 birds. ix

When it comes to nest building, why does this species choose the more complex over the easier option? Can we possibly ascribe to chance the fact that they can build such complex nest structures all by themselves? Surely not—like all other creatures in nature, they too act by the directives of God.

Each species of bird has its own way of constructing nests. Each technique requires a design planned in advance, and is of such a complexity that couldn't be expected from creatures without intellect or the faculty of forethought.

We're faced with organisms devoid of reason and the willpower necessary to behave with compassion, mercy and devotion. However, these creatures clearly demonstrate the products of intelligence, reason, planning and design and compassionate and altruistic behavior. So what is the source of their behaviors? If they lack the capacity to produce these actions through their own willpower, there must be a power that teaches them to act in this way. This power is God, the Lord of the earth, the heavens and everything in between.

Anyone of reason and conscience will easily understand that such behavior can occur only by the power and control of God, the Lord of all living things. As He reveals in the Qur'an:

    And in your creation and all the creatures He has spread about, there are Signs for people with certainty. (Qur'an, 45: 4)

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I    Giovanni G. Bellani, Quand L'oiseau Fait Son Nid (When The Bird Makes Its Nest) (Arthaud, 1996), p. 85.
II   Russell Freedman, How Animals Defend Their Young (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1978), p. 4.
III  Giovanni G. Bellani, Quand L'oiseau Fait Son Nid (When The Bird Makes Its Nest) (Arthaud, 1996), pp. 24, 90.
IV   Giovanni G. Bellani, Quand L'oiseau Fait Son Nid (When The Bird Makes Its Nest) (Arthaud, 1996), p. 89.
V    David Attenborough, The Life of Birds (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1998), pp. 233-234.VI   Russell Freedman, How Animals Defend Their Young (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1978), p. 47.
VII  David Attenborough, The Life of Birds (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1998), p. 234.
VIII Slater, The Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior, p. 42; and Attenborough, Life of Birds, pp. 234-235.IX  "Kalahari Gems," www.safricavoyage.com/kalahari.htm