I am so ready for my fighting guests to leave . . . they have been neither kind or considerate.
Our garden sanctuary is more like a war zone these hot humid days. Soaring like Kamikaze pilots of World War II, hummingbirds bombard each other at incredible speed. This week they are warriors on the move.
Almost perfect, you would not imagine that a bird this small could be so aggressive. They are the only birds that use their long beaks as a sword. “Please, can’t you just be kind. There’s plenty for all.” Tom warns me to stay calm when their conflict lasts for hours. The male Ruby red-throat is viciously territorial. You would think he was protecting Fort Knox. He guards the feeders and flowers so his harem alone has enough sweet nectar.
Weighing as little as three paper clips, the fierce birds can beat their wings up to 80 times per second. When soaring, they race each other at speeds greater than 35 mph. They are a perpetual winged machine. I get exhausted at their frenzied hostility; often one will whiz right over my head.
They eat non-stop . . . “if a hummingbird were the size of an average person, they would use sugar fast enough that they would need to drink more than one can of soda every minute . . .” (Creation/Evolution headlines, David Coppedge, December 2013) Wouldn’t we love that problem! (Hummingbirds are native to the Americas; if you are not familiar with them, you may want to Google them. They are quite incredible.)
These tiny birds cannot walk but can fly backwards, can fly upside down, can change directions instantly. Truly a marvel of creation, but definitely not an example of sweet fellowship. They attack one another recklessly and constantly as they fight for a place at the feeders.
This six-second video shows what happens when a visiting flock migrating to South America
stopped to refuel, putting the permanent summer dwellers on high alert. Tiny hummers have a great memory, returning to the same feeders year after year. Massive chaos ensued when the newcomers barged in.
Watching their attacks and selfishness this morning, I thought of Psalm 133: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” . . . The writer of this Psalm compares kindness and unity to oil and dew. ” it is like precious oil poured. . . and flowing down . . . and like the dew of Hermon falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows His blessings, even life for evermore.”
Oil was for anointing, for a blessing . . . for consecration. Oil perfumed and refreshed those living in the hot climate, filling the atmosphere with sweet fragrance. Harmony in family, in church, in community is cause for great happiness.
Dew. . . cool dew of these recent early mornings, nourishes my soul. Or my feet. Walking in the wet dew refreshes my ruffled spirit; I sigh deeply, inhaling the freshness of a new day. The day will heat up . . . but for this moment, NOW, I rejoice in the sweetness of the dew.
The dew of Mount Hermon can literally water the arid lands around Zion, refreshing and reviving all green growth. Unity, a spirit of forgiveness resulting in sweet togetherness, is a cause for joy. Peace in relationships brings delight to the very heart of God.
It is normal for hummingbirds to defend their food source; to brawl constantly. But who wants to be normal?
Have you seen the billboard promoting Ephesians 4:32? “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” I think I will post this on a tree in my yard next year. Hummingbirds cannot smell, but their vision is great. I wonder if they can read.