The annual hummingbird migration is about to begin. Our ruby-throated hummingbirds hang out around here for roughly eight months out of twelve, but in late August/early September, their presence can best be described as a charm, a glittering, a hover, a shimmer, or a tune. Those are the actual words for groups of hummingbirds—I did not make that up. I am mesmerized by hummingbirds, and here are a few fascinating facts that my fellow “hummerfans” may already know—yes, I made up that word.
- Hummingbirds can’t walk or hop.
- Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards.
- Hummingbirds migrate farther than any North American species (4000 miles).
- Hummingbirds migrate alone, not in flocks.
- A hummingbird takes 150 breaths a minute.
- A hummingbird beats its wings more than 50 times per second.
- A hummingbird’s brain makes up 4.2% of its weight. In comparison, our human brains are 2% of our body weight.
OK, I like hummingbirds. They are tiny, but mighty. They seemingly have no fear, and they buzz my head like tiny kamikazes when I change the nectar in their feeder. But why am I telling you about hummingbirds on a Sunday morning? Well, it’s because the past months/years have been difficult. So much in our world has changed. Some of us have had COVID. We all know people who have suffered from COVID. Many of us have lost friends and family members from COVID. Just when it seems that the pandemic is over and life is getting back to normal, here comes monkey pox. And sadly, and unbelievably, Joe Biden is President.
I think that it’s hopeless to believe that we will recover. And then I look at that hummingbird. This morning, he, along with a shimmering of his friends, is at the feeder in my front yard, consuming 1.5 to 3 times his body weight every single day, preparing to fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico—500 miles in 18 to 24 hours—to his wintering grounds. He has hope that he’s going to get there, and he has hope that he will make it back to my feeder in the spring. And I remind myself that the hummingbird was put on this earth by the same God who put me and you and even those liberals that we don’t like on the same planet. God designed the hummingbird with his tiny megabrain just like he designed me and you (and yes, even Mr. Biden), and there’s a plan for all of us. If you need any more inspiration than that, then consider these Bible verses:
- I know every [humming]bird in the mountains…. (Psalm 50:11)
- Consider the ravens [and hummingbirds]: they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than [humming]birds! (Luke 12:24)
- Are not two sparrows [hummingbirds] sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. (Matthew 10:29)
May you find cause for hope on this Sunday morning.
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