Daily Devotional – May 13
What animal only comes out to feed at night, lives in caves, uses sonar to navigate, has eyes like a deep-sea fish, hovers in place, and has a phenomenal sense of smell? If you guessed a bat you are wrong. It is actually a unique bird that lives in South America commonly known as the “oilbird.” Oilbirds got their name from the native Indians who knocked them from their nests on the cave ledges with long poles so that they could melt down the fat in the bird to make oil for torches. While most other birds roost at night and are active during the day, the oilbird is the opposite. During the day, oilbirds roost on cave ledges, digesting the previous night’s fruits and nuts.
Oilbirds navigate in total darkness by emitting clicking calls in rapid succession and listening for their return echoes. Unlike bats, which emit ultrasonic clicks that we cannot hear, oilbirds’ clicks are audible. They leave the cave at night and use their echolocation system, their keen sense of smell, and incredible eyesight to find fruits and nuts. During these foraging trips, they do not perch, but hover in place to feed. The oilbird’s retinal rods are stacked in three tiers, an arrangement seen only in deep-sea fish that live in total darkness. The density of this bird’s rods is 1 million rods per square millimeter. This, in combination with its oversized pupils, gives the oilbird the greatest light-gathering capacity of any land animal!
What a bizarre bird: it uses sonar like a bat, has eyes like a deep-sea fish, hovers in place like a hummingbird, and tracks smells like a bloodhound. As with the duck-billed platypus, the oilbird has a hodgepodge of features from all over the animal kingdom with no clear evolutionary ancestry. This makes perfect sense if the entire animal kingdom has a common Designer--God--but defies any naturalistic evolutionary explanation.
The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.
~ Psalm 111:2