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

Beaches, Hummingbirds, Travel

Staying Too Long

The party’s over.

The flock of 20 or so hummingbirds that stopped by our yard to rest and refuel for several weeks has moved on.

Just part of the crowd that visited 
our feeders from first light to dusk

Three or four—probably our original group—stayed put. I wonder if they’re mentally preparing for the trip south.

Hummingbirds often hog the feeders.
I’ve heard that a few hummers stick around all year. 

Could it be the ready food supply? 

Is that good? 

I don’t know.

But I worry.

The birds had a rough time last winter.
They say we’re probably in for another harsh winter. I’ve tried admonishing my feathered friends not to hang around too long. 

But so far, they haven’t listened.

Their lingering reminds me of some of the people we’ve encountered on our travels. 

There was the scruffy young man on the New York sidewalk playing his guitar beside a sign asking for $$ to get home. 

So many people–one can get lost in a crowd in NYC.

Not much ambiance, but 
the seafood and burgers 
are good and reasonably priced!

I like the guy in need of dental work who waits tables at TC’s, a Navarre burger joint. 
I bet he was a looker when he first arrived in Paradise. He seems smart, and I can’t help wondering what he’d be doing if he’d gone home with his crew.
We’re almost there!

Each time, we pass a certain corner in Pensacola, I remember the emaciated woman with the skinny dog. 

Looking for her next fix?

But the one who haunts me most is the bedraggled young woman pushing her belongings in a grocery cart on the sidewalk in Vancouver. I bet she was living in a dorm or sorority house six months before instead on of the street. 

Sidetracked by booze and easy dope? 

Vancouver British Columbia is a beautiful city.

I shudder to think where that girl might be now. I hope she phoned home. 

That’s what I wanted to say to each of them.

Call your mother for bus fare home. 

She’s worried. And waiting by the phone.

Destin, Florida 1973
loved visiting all those places, and I can see the lure to stay. I wasn’t ready to come home the first time I went to Destin. 

But I’m glad I did.

The beach is so nice, sometimes
you just have to dance for joy!

I still love the Gulf Coast’s sugar sand. Even now, I’m tempted linger at Navarre Beach. If we didn’t have a houseful of cats and children and grandchildren nearby, I’d be happy to live there part of the year. 

We go often enough that we’ve met several transplants. Some came to the area with the military, others for a job or on vacation. Eventually, they found ways to stay or come back and settle down. 

But they’re different from the stragglers and panhandlers. They didn’t just hang around, hoping to extend the party. 

They had a plan. 

Steve, an artist and partner in
Saltwater Cottage, was
a man with a plan.

No one can party through life without suffering the consequences. 

There are always consequences.
I don’t mean to judge. Some of those folks are trapped in cruel addictions. Or they may not have anyone back home to send them a bus ticket.

I wish all those people knew the One who’s waiting to come to their rescue.

Maybe I should mention Him the next time I encounter a lonely soul who missed the last bus home.

What about you?

Do you know someone who needs a gentle nudge homeward? 

Let’s tell them about His amazing grace.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have
I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
Acts 3:6 

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