Hummingbirds, Praying Mantis, Rivalry

A Dangerous Game

The Praying Mantis is not
a hummingbird’s friend.

Not long ago, my friend, Debbie Hoofman, posted the picture above on Facebook. That praying mantis is sitting on her hummingbird feeder. She noted that these two creatures are mortal enemies, which I didn’t know.

Unwelcome Guest

Guess what showed up on our deck a couple of days later? Yeah. A praying mantis, lurking in the exact spot where one of our hummingbirds hangs out. When our feathered friend’s not sipping sugar water, he rests right there and watches over HIS feeder. Some hummingbirds don’t share well.

Dibs on the wire!
It wasn’t long before Mr. Hummer showed up. When he saw his foe had taken over his spot, did he flit out of there like a smart little bird? No, he did not. Instead he hovered just out of reach, all the while, giving the praying mantis the evil eye.  

Notice the Praying Mantis’
change in posture!

 When the insect twisted around and stretched out toward him, the hummer flew away. Did you hear my sigh of relief?

I Double-Dog Dare you!

However, my sigh was premature. That crazy little bird came back again and again until I interrupted the standoff. Deprived of his lunch, the mantis moved on.

That little bird would not stay away.

 The praying mantis is a stealthy hunter that employs quick reflexes to use the barbs on its forearms to pin down its prey. With a head that can turn 180 degrees, it doesn’t miss much. It’s also patient and can remain motionless for long periods.

I was happy to learn that hummingbirds aren’t the mantis’ first choice of nourishment. They prefer wasps and other bugs and have to be pretty hungry to attack hummers. So if you spy one near your feeders, do what the National Audubon Society suggests and move it out to your garden or flower bed. It’ll rid you of lots of pests.

But back to that spunky little hummingbird.

Why did he insist on challenging his foe?
That macho hummer kinda reminds me of some folks—you know, the ones who dabble in reckless behaviors. They go from one hazardous situation to another, sometimes wrecking their lives, not to mention what it can do to others’, in the process.

A mother’s nightmare!

I’m a confessed coward when it comes to risky pastimes, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t engaged in more subtle forms of danger. You don’t have to be a daredevil to get into trouble.

Why do we flirt with danger when we should know better? What entices us?

Lack of Discipline? Naivety? Ignorance? Sheer Stupidity? Thrill Seeking? Rebellion?

Perhaps, all the above at one point or another. But as they say, when we’re forced to face the consequences, there are no acceptable excuses.

Since that day, I’ve thought a lot about that hummingbird’s response to his mortal enemy. I was reminded that the young don’t have a corner on foolishness. 

I found myself praying, Lord, keep me from folly. Give me discernment and wisdom to walk in Your ways.
May we both walk in wisdom, my friend. 
And may all your days be free from trouble.

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
 love her, and she will watch over you. 
Proverbs 4:6

Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2015. All rights reserved

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