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"Excuse me, excuse me!"

Tourists, turning to see where the insistent but courteous voice was coming from in a center kiosk in our tiny mall, were quickly drawn to a 9-year-old who looked as though he'd stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Benny continued speaking, "Do you know what's upstairs? Have you been up?"

Who wouldn't pay attention to the. earnest voice coming from a round, freckled face topped with carrot red hair? Benny told the people solemnly some of what they were missing by staying downstairs: a three-screen Nature Theater, a Planetarium, and even six birds--including toucans in our Jungle Walk. And he added that no one had to pay anything to see it all, they could just sit back and watch the shows! Obviously people responded. Who could resist such an invitation? There was something about Benny that seemed irre¬sistible!

Our toucans are often irresistible as well. We chose Sunshine (a lovely Swainson's toucan) since she was the only one we found available when we were populating our Jungle Walk. We didn't know that the Swainson's is a very loud bird!") Excerpt taken from February 2006 AKE newsletter

Toucans have beaks that look like a mistake was made in their design! It's about 4 times as long as the head, and would appear difficult to balance. But those beaks are like hollow paddles, made with the same material your fingernail is made from. Its length makes it useful in reaching berries at the farthest tip of a branch that could never otherwise hold the weight of such a large bird. Now these sociable creatures don't have the normal defenses of other birds. Their beaks are not useful for biting and they don't fly well—rather they hop from limb to limb. They'd never get away from danger trying to fly. So their Designer instilled within them a different response than flight. The birds stay, encircle their attacker, then they all scream at the top of their lungs! Ear-splitting sounds made by just one Swainson's toucan at times can be heard half a mile away! Think of being deafened by screams! It's a Creator-given not by accident defense strategy. Predators retreat quickly! (We know. With two of them living just a few feet from the side door of our Planetarium, we feel like retreating at times when our toucans, Sunshine and Hemminway, decide that supper is taking longer than they want to wait and they begin to scream!)

Another unique design blesses the baby toucan. When the young hatches it appears as a soft, featherless blob of life. It hatches in a hard tree log and its parents provide no soft downy cushion as found in other nests. The growing young must maneuver itself on a hard wooden floor. However, its Creator gave the baby, at birth, a well developed heel pad to use during the first 40 to 50 days of its life. This not by accident pad lasts while the baby lives within the log, providing comfort while it shuffles around on its hard-floor nest. But when the bird fledges, before leaving its log home, the heel pad disappears! It's a not by accident gift from a tender Creator to a tiny creature--until baby toucan needs it no longer!

Their Designer thought of everything toucans need to live successfully throughout life. Would our Creator have done less when He created us?

 "NOT BY ACCIDENT" (c) Juanita Kretschmar is used by permission and was first published in the book "Not By Accident"  pages 10-11

Picture originally found here

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