If you have ever watched a hummingbird feeder, you have seen the aggression. And who can really blame them? Their wings can beat 80 times a second and their hearts can beat 1000 times a minute. They must eat every 30 minutes to get enough calories for that high metabolism. They have no down under their feathers, which helps them fly because they are so light, but it does little to keep their tiny bodies warm. When they sleep at night, they are in danger of dying from starvation or cold, so their tiny bodies go into a state of torpor that slows their heartrate and lowers their body temperature. And how many calories do they need? Usually they take in 3-7 calories a day in nectar, which may not sound like much, but when you translate that to something the size of a human it is 155,000 calories a day. We can easily see why they are so aggressive at feeders—it is literally a matter of life or death.
They are especially aggressive in early spring when claiming territory. Females are more aggressive in protecting the walnut-sized nest after she lays their eggs. Then, as they prepare to migrate in the late summer and early fall they must put on 40% more of their total body weight to survive the trip, often as far south as Central America. They will fly over the Gulf of Mexico rather than following the shore around it, 18-72 hours of nonstop flying over open water. No wonder they do not want to share!
A hummingbird's aggression increases by stages, depending upon the results he gets at each level. First he will sit off to the side of the feeder, buzzing and chirping and squeaking, gradually increasing volume as the intruder feeds. After that he will "posture." He may flare his gorge, spread his wings or his crown, or point his sharp little bill like a sword. If you see one diving at other birds on the feeder, he has moved on to the third level of aggression. If you are in the middle of filling the feeder, or simply standing too close by, he may dive at you too. If the dive does not get rid of the interloper, he will actively chase him away, following him for several yards to make sure he is gone. And finally, when all else fails, hummingbirds will fight, and fight to the death, using their talons and beaks as deadly weapons. On occasion ornithologists have actually found two dead hummingbirds, one dead with the other's bill through his body so far that the attacker could not extricate himself and died too. See what I mean by "vicious?"
But here is the thing: hummingbirds are wired that way by their Creator. It is the only way they can survive. If somehow you could stand there and say to them, there is plenty for all of you and I promise to keep filling it up, none of them would understand. It is the bird's job to survive in the ways he has been given and to see any intruder as someone who could cause his or his lady's death. You simply cannot change the nature of a hummingbird, and no one would expect you too.
We are not like that. God expects change from us. "But that's just the way I am," won't cut it with Him. He knows who and what you are, and what you can and cannot do, and He has said from time immemorial that He expects us to change. The word "repent" is found 105 times in the KJV Bible and that doesn't count the various forms of the word like "repentance." And what does that word mean? To put it simply, "change." And it wasn't only the doom-saying prophets and so-called angry God of the Old Testament who said this. "Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish," said Jesus, not once, but twice (Luke 13:3,5), and in other places as well.
What did he say to the woman taken in adultery? "Go your way and sin no more" (John 8:11). Sounds like a change to me. In fact, he constantly demanded such complete commitment (change) that many turned and left. "Let the dead bury the dead." "Go sell all you have." "Hate your mother and your father." Become "a eunuch for the kingdom's sake." "Take up your cross [crucify yourself] and follow me." Jesus never coddled anyone into the kingdom.
So here is our question for the day. Are you a wild creature who has no sense of right and wrong and therefore, no self-control and no self-determination? Or are you created in the image of God, a creature who can not only know right from wrong, but can actually choose which one to do? If you don't know, God does.
Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed. He will repay each one according to his works (Rom 2:4-6).