They are back! Usually sometime during the first week of May they show up at our window begging. God gives them a very accurate memory of where those feeders were last year. I’m speaking, of course of the return of the beautiful, amazing little hummingbirds, a marvel of God’s creative design.
We have a deck out back where we like to sit out and eat in the spring and summer and are often entertained by these intriguing, diminutive creatures that can rush toward the ground in a blurring nose-dive, screech to a complete stop inches from crashing, hover, and dash off at top speed. At high speeds they can change directions on a dime, which is rather fortunate since they often come zooming by our heads as we sit at the table near the feeders! To escape an enemy, they can fly backwards, flip over into a somersault, fly upside down, roll upright and charge away, all in but two-tenths of a second! That’s faster than you can say their name!
With their tiny, weak, perching feet, the only way to get around is to fly and can they ever fly! To take to the air, they just flap their wings at high speeds and fly, no jumping or running required. They can fly backwards, forwards, sideways, hover, spin, roll, and even fly upside down! They are able to do all these stunts because of their special design. Their wings are attached to a special swiveling shoulder joint so that they can move forward and backwards as well as tilt and rotate 180 degrees. To hover, the “hummer” flaps its wings 50-80 times a second in a figure-eight motion, turning their wings completely over on the front and back sweeps. Their tiny little hearts can beat more than 1,000 times a minute!
Obviously, the hummingbird requires a lot of calories a day to supply energy for those frenzied activities. They sometimes consume five times their body weight in one day! To equal a hummingbird’s calorie intake, a child weighing 70 pounds would have to eat about 62,000 calories a day! (That would take 388 bowls of Frosted Flakes or 177 Snicker Bars!) To get the needed supply of calories, a hummingbird will visit about 1,000 flowers a day—or hang out at the hummingbird feeders. They also need protein so use their aerial prowess to snatch insects out of the air. On cool nights, which we have a lot of here in Northwest Montana in the spring and summer, the hummers conserve some of the energy they have worked so hard to get by becoming dormant. Their body temperature will drop from 104 degrees to 75 degrees and their pulse from 1200 beats a minute to 36!
So, why does the hummingbird hum? Is it because they don’t know the words?! Actually they can whistle and chirp, but the hum comes from their feathers. Special tapered feathers at the tip of the wings make slots that the wind whistles through when they fly. A male may whir his wings 100-200 times a second when courting the females! He really hums!
I’m sure you have noticed how the hummingbirds appear to change color. The color doesn’t come from pigment, but actually from layers of air-filled plates. The plates reflect light like tiny prisms making a beautiful bedazzling blaze of color.
Of all the birds of God’s creation, the hummingbird might be the most remarkable. Everything about these tiny creatures shouts design. How sad that those who have an evolutionist world view won’t acknowledge that these amazing little birds were designed by our all-wise, all-powerful Creator God, the Lord Jesus Christ, for “All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (Jn. 1:3). Needless to say, no person could have planned a creature like the hummingbird. We can design helicopters and other flying machines, but they are still just poor copies of the birds they try to imitate. No one would argue that helicopters were not designed by intelligence, yet evolution would teach that hummingbirds happened by time, chance and accident! Wrong!!! The hummingbird was just one of the myriads of amazing, beautiful designs of our Lord Jesus Christ, who “out of the ground formed every beast of the field, and every bird of the sky” (Gen. 2:19).
If our Creator God could design and build the amazing little hummer, just think of what He has done for us and will do in and through us if we allow Him to! We serve an awesome God, and “It isHe who has made us and not we ourselves” (Ps. 100:3). If you think the hummingbird has some special features—and it does—just do a little research into the marvels of the human body, and you will shout with the Psalmist, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works; and my soul knows it very well” (Psa. 139:14).