We have a hummingbird feeder on the back deck of our home. One beautiful, red-throated bird carefully guards the source of nectar. He stands vigil to be sure that no other thirsty traveler stops at his station for refreshment. He attacks and sends to flight any who would try to infringe upon his private stash. Nonetheless, several other birds regularly challenge his proprietary rights and stealthily light at the trough. When discovered by Mr. Redneck, the intruders are aggressively chased away.
I have come to expect this territorial behavior of hummingbirds. My husband and I delight in watching as these small winged creatures dart back and forth across the sky chasing each other away from the nectar. At times, two contesting birds will circle one another spiraling high into the air as if engaged in a ballroom dance of well-rehearsed choreography. Other times they dive at speeds so rapid that the eye can barely catch the descent. They have us charmed by all their movements, not the least of which is their ability to pause their flight in an almost helicopter-style suspension while beating their wings so rapidly that the wings’ outline seems to evaporate into a blur right before our eyes. Oh yes, we are definitely fans of the hummingbirds.
A few weeks ago we noticed that our feeder was not allowing the sugary water to descend into the troughs where the birds insert their pipette fashioned beaks. My husband examined the apparatus and determined that the small hole at the top had become clogged and was not allowing any air into the tube. The chamber was acting like a vacuum, thus restricting the liquid flow. The birds had noticed it also. As we sat on the porch, Mr. Redneck approached within two feet of us and suspended himself at eye-level by flaring out his little tail to brake himself. After buzzing us for a short time, he darted off. Within moments, he returned, suspended, and stared us down again. After several such scoldings, we got the message and rose to fix the feeder.
While we applied our less than scientific repair of sticking an ice pick into the clogged hole, our guest of honor kept vigilant guard over his food source. I employed sufficient pressure until I had punctured the plastic dome. The vacuum seal was broken; air rushed into the dome; liquid poured forth into the trough. Did I say poured? I meant gushed. Liquid flooded the trough; jetted out of the beak-size holes; and emptied the feeder within less than five seconds – much to the surprise of both my husband and me. And what did Mr. Redneck do? He approached within two feet of us and suspended himself at eye-level by flaring out his little tail to brake himself and stared us down. I actually think that he shook his head at us in disbelief. Plus – he chirped. Our scolding had escalated to a whole new level.
Like amiable fans, we promised him that the feeder would be replaced expediently. We spoke comforting words, assuring words, repentant words. We promised that as soon as the store opened that morning, we would purchase him the new and improved model of the super hummingbird feeder. We were true to our word.
Matthew 7:11(NIV): “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children (or hummingbirds – translation mine), how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!”