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Discovery Magazine 4/1/1994


The Blue-Footed Booby

There is a true story of a boy whose feet turned bluish-purple because he had to soak them in medicine each day. His feet got well and the medicine finally washed off. He no longer has bluish-purple feet.

But there is a bird that has bright blue feet all the time. It is called the Blue-footed Booby. The word booby is from a Spanish word, bobo, meaning "stupid fellow." Some think the booby appears to be silly because he is so tame and clumsy on land. This makes him easily trapped by man. But in the air, the bird is a remarkable flyer. He can spot fish in the sea and dive to make his catch from 80 feet high in the sky.

The booby's wonderfully designed blue feet have a greater circulation of blood, which makes them very warm. Instead of warming (or incubating) their eggs by sitting on them, mother and father booby cover their eggs with their hot feet, keeping them constantly warm at 103 degrees. As baby boobies hatch, the eggs are held on top of mom's or dad's feet. There they will stay warm until they are able to grow feathers and keep themselves warm.

While some may call these birds with the bright blue feet "stupid fellows," they show that they know how to keep their babies warm so that they will not die. Most birds have a portion of featherless skin underneath their bodies, called a brooding patch, for warming their eggs and chicks. Who gave boobies the know-how, or instinct, to use their feet in the care of their eggs and babies? Certainly they did not learn it by themselves! There would be no boobies if that were true. The feet of boobies show amazing design.

We know that where there is design, there must be a designer. Only God is able to design the wonderful blood vessels in the feet of Mr. and Mrs. Booby, and put the instinct into their brains as to how to use them. Creatures like these show us there is a Great Designer.



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