Rubies in the Garden

by Alva Steury Jr. | Jun 1, 2023 | 0 comments

male Ruby-throated Hummingbird preening
Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird preening. Photo © Alva Steury.

Bzzzzz. The tiny bird landed on the wire tomato cage, merely 18 inches (45 cm) in front of me, his tiny gorget feathers flashing ruby red in the warm evening sunlight. I held perfectly still with a big smile spread across my face, and tried not to burst with excitement! Then suddenly, with a buzz, the tiny hummer flew to the nearby feeder for a quick sip of nectar.

I inched closer and again held perfectly still. With a squeak and a buzz, the hummer again landed on his rusty wire perch, only this time I was much closer to him and with my camera ready. I pushed the shutter button and the shutter clicked. The startled hummingbird flew up several inches from his perch, but seconds later was again settled on the wire. He turned his head from side to side, eyeing me suspiciously, as if wondering what this big smiling face was doing so close to his private perch!

The tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbird had chosen the perfect place to live for the summer—my mother’s garden! With its many lush rows of corn, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and a few other varieties, the garden truly was a wonderful place to live. But what attracted Mr. Hummingbird most were the many flowers in and around the garden and house. Dividing the garden in two is a brilliant row of zinnias, with bright reds, pinks, orange, and even a splash of creamy yellow dotted here and there. In one corner of the garden is a large hibiscus bush with huge, dark pink flowers, that is enough to make any hummingbird dance with excitement! Around the house in various flower beds are a variety of other colorful flowers that Mr. Hummingbird enjoys throughout the warm summer.

Other than helping Mrs. Hummingbird raise their family, Mr. Hummingbird is kept busy guarding the precious paradise that supplies his family with nectar and tiny protein-rich insects. He will guard his little paradise with his life if need be! If a rival hummingbird tries to sneak a quick sip of nectar, it will likely be greeted with a high-pitched, squeaking bullet streaking toward it! A fast chase normally ensues before Mr. Hummingbird again settles back down to resume his guarding.

Our Creator did an amazing job creating the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, didn’t He! This tiny bird has a brain that’s only about the size of a BB, yet God gave it a memory so large that it would put us humans to shame in a memory contest! Visiting about 1,000 flowers a day, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird can remember where each one is located and how long it takes each one to refill with nectar! Not just that, it can also remember where every feeder and flower that it has ever visited is located! Well, at least some think so. They can certainly return to where feeders were hung a previous year, and seemingly wonder why they aren’t hanging. Pretty staggering, isn’t it!

On average, this little beauty’s wings beat about fifty times per second! And if you think that’s nothing, just give it a try! On their southbound migration in the fall, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds put on a lot of weight—25%-40% or more—to take on a seemingly impossible flight. They embark on a 500-mile (800-km) journey from southern United States across the Gulf of Mexico to Central America, arriving in about twenty hours!

Only our Creator God could come up with such an amazingly designed little bird, don’t you think?! Designing such a tiny, beautiful, yet so intricately detailed bird would take a lot of wisdom. And that could only fit the description of our Creator, like it says in Psalm 104:24, “O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

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