I’ve become acquainted with quite a few new things since moving to the country. One is a little family — father, mother and daughter – the Hummers. They are always happy, always quick, and always eating. They are Horatio, Hortense, and little Hilda (Hummingbird) Hummer. Allow me to introduce you.
I never saw (or paid attention to) hummingbirds in the city, but they are plentiful here in the country. They whiz around like jet planes taking off, always returning for more nectar (if I had that much sugar in me, I’d be buzzing, too). They are fascinating creatures and I’ve become enthralled watching and learning about them.
Hummingbirds are small (2-20 grams), with long narrow bills, and small saber-like wings. Horatio (male), has a bright red gorget: small, stiff, highly reflective, colored feathers on the throat and upper chest. These shiny feathers and others around the head may look sooty black until a hummer turns its head to catch the sun and display the intense metallic spectral color. Hortense is a muted blue and Hilda is a beautiful yellow.
Hummingbirds have been clocked at close to 30 mph indirect flight and are able to fly 18 to 20 straight hours to cross the Gulf of Mexico, powered by their fat stores and given a bit of help from winds.
A hummingbird’s heart beats from 225 times a minute when at rest to more than 1,200 times per minute when its flying around. Their wings beat about 70 times per second in direct flight and over 200 times per second while diving.
Their high-energy lifestyle compels hummingbirds to locate reliable food resources. Feeding on flowers puts hummingbirds at the mercy of the flowering seasons of the plants upon which they depend. Hummingbirds solve this by being very mobile and their movements are often shaped by the changing pattern of flower production over time.
Horatio, Hortense and Hilda often stop mid-air, wings flapping so fast they are invisible to the naked eye, and seem to stare into our patio door. I’m not sure if they are telling us they are checking in with us or checking on us, but they are a sight to behold. They are a perfect example of God’s beautiful creations and a reminder to me of the enormity of God’s beautiful planet and to be anxious for nothing.
Matthew 6:25-27 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”