So much so that all that now comes to mind is the old adage that if you do not wish to catch a fish, then you should not dangle bait in the water! Suddenly, we are overrun with hummingbirds. At first, it was just one or two, then three or four. Now, it is not uncommon to count as many as a dozen or more literally swarming about the two porches. And here is where it gets interesting, for I never realized just how feisty these little birds can be.
Back in the day, Cassius Clay made famous a phrase about floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. He had nothing on these creatures. They are masters of the air. They float, they dart, they zig, and they zag. Indeed, unlike most members of the bird species, their method of flight is less like an airplane and more akin to a helicopter. Only no helicopter can move as swiftly and change direction as smoothly as can the humble hummingbird.
And yet, for all their grace in flight, they seem to be somewhat ornery in nature. I get that the experts tell us that they are supposedly tanking up for their annual migration down to South America. By any account, that’s quite a long flight; and any amount of sugar consumed now will likely pay handsome dividends later en route.
But it is quite evident that, having happened upon a food source, not one of them is willing to share it in any way. Each of the five feeders has five separate feeding stations. Theoretically, therefore, there is ample room for every bird to feed simultaneously. Yet no one bird seems willing to tolerate for one second the presence of any other bird!
All of this gives new meaning to the expression once made famous by a popular video game: “Angry Birds”! I say this because, on average, I would estimate that each bird spends thrice as much time fussing and fighting with his or her neighbors as it does alighting and actually feeding.
No sooner has a given bird landed to feed than its neighbors begin to bombard it incessantly. And the attack generally does not let up until the hapless creature relents and leaves its perch. Of course, once this has happened, the victim then immediately joins the fray and proceeds to attack the next quarry.
The result is that the air around our house has become akin to the skies over Midway Island in the famous World War Two battle. Imagine an aerial dogfight involving a dozen or more planes that goes on from sun up to sun down, and you have a picture of our little flock of hummingbirds vigorously pursuing their typical day.
As I sat this afternoon observing this spectacle for the umpteenth time, I could not help but think of how we must look to our Heavenly Father. In His magnificent goodness, He provides enough for all of His creation, including each and every one of us, to be blessed.
Yet, so many of us fail to recognize this principle; and instead, we pursue a life of selfishness with such intensity that we find ourselves constantly struggling not just to outdo, but also to overcome and vanquish our fellow man!
Should it not be enough that we are allowed to partake of and consume sufficient sustenance in life? Why must we not be satisfied with this, and instead seek to dominate and lord it over others, often to their detriment, and insuring that they consume, acquire, and/or become less than we do?!
The Bible uses a whole parade of animals to teach us important life lessons. Among these are birds, camels, dogs, donkeys, doves, fish, lions, quails, roosters, sheep, and even snakes. To this list, I would add a flock of hummingbirds. For in their daily pursuits, they have collectively reminded me of a few important lessons. Chief among these, perhaps, is that God has been good to me; and a result, I need to be good to others in return!
To do otherwise is to violate the clear teaching of Jesus Christ. After all, as is recorded in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, chapter 18, verse 21-35, He once told a parable about a man who was forgiven a tremendous debt, only to go out and immediately demand payment from another who was indebted to him for a far smaller amount. Not surprisingly, the one who originally forgave this man’s debt, once he heard, was not pleased, and held him accountable.
Out of the goodness of her heart, my wife provided ample sustenance for every hummingbird in or near our place. Sadly, those who found it cannot seem to enjoy it for wishing to stick it to their neighbor! Needless to say, my wife (and I) are not all that pleased!
Does any of this sound familiar? To be sure, you may have a few hummingbird squabbles at your place as well. But that is not the intent of my question. And my suspicion is that you know that.
Let’s be clear. God has been good to both you and me. I trust that is enough; and that we will not therefore feel the need to combat, conquer, and defeat others in order to hoard all He has provided just for ourselves.
If we do, we can rest assured that He will not be pleased! And trust me, an angry bird is nothing compared to an angry God!
ANIMALS IN SCRIPTURE: https://ministryspark.com/amazing-animals-series/.
PARABLE SCRIPTURE: https://biblehub.com/context/matthew/18-21.htm.