Hummingbird War Games


Over the weekend Nadine and I saddled up our horses (car horses that is) and headed for the high country of Flagstaff for some R&R. We typically drive up on Thursday night and come back on Monday morning, although on this trip we started out on Friday afternoon. Neither of us had eaten much that day and decided to cook us some vegetables (I mean just vegetables) for our supper.

Our menu for the night consisted of blackened brussels sprouts, garlic sautéed mushrooms, finishing the meal with apple slices layered with peanut butter. It may not sound all that exciting, but it was sooo good after a long day of work. We sat on our front porch in our love seat swing and watched the harvest moon begin to peak through the ponderosa pines. The coolness of the night setting in caused our bodies to decompress and want the comforts of our California king mattress. It didn’t take long for our heads to hit the pillow fall asleep.

Saturday morning begins with a 4.65 mile walk around the grounds with our 8-year-old Cavalier King Charles puppy named Monte. He loves the walk, but on the last mile he was dragging, but he made it. It was time to pull the lounge chairs out from under the patio awning and take a breather. I do need to tell you that I have fed birds on my back patio for over 25 years and love to see all kinds of birds that come to the feeder. I also have a hummingbird feeder that draws in hummingbirds for a drink of especially mixed ingredients for their palate.

Nadine and I had no idea what was in store for us to enjoy when the hummingbirds came to drink. There were several personalities present in the theater of hummingbird dances. The first hummingbird to come to the water was a quiet soul that made no sound but just wanted to feed and move on. She (I say she because the males make loud sounds, but the females are quiet) would point her beak into the drinking hole for a few seconds and then go to the next hole and the next. Once she was satisfied, she would fly off.

The males didn’t want anyone to come and drink from the well of delight and would scare off any seekers of the delicious beverage. The one male in particular would sit on a branch not far from the feeder and would wait for a seeker to come and would chase them off, signifying that it (the feeder) was his and his alone. Little did he know that as he was gone, others would come to the feeder and get their fill of the delightful nectar.

One time another male came to drink and the squatter of the feeder took off in a war to keep this intruder from getting any of the juice. The males went beak to beak and fought for over a minute in mid-air with their beaks seeking to win an advantage over the other, all the while other hummingbirds were coming to the feeder to drink.

The highlight of our time came when one of the younger female hummingbirds came to the porch and did an amazing thing. She hovered over Nadine’s head about 2-3 feet above her and stopped. As she was hovering above her head, it seemed like forever that the hummingbird was checking her out and maybe getting a scent of her perfume that she wanted some of. We don’t know what it was all about, but for 20-30 seconds she just hovered, moving just above her head, and then moving to where her hands were. After getting enough of whatever she wanted, she moved to the feeder, drank her fill, and flew off.

There are so many comparisons in our personal lives and relationships we can glean from God’s creation. In family structures, there are those who just want to satisfy their needs in life and move on. There are others in family relationships that are so determined to protect their turf and not allow anyone else in the family to get the upper hand that they lose out on taking care of their own needs. They chase others away from potentially having a wonderful impact in their own lives. There are those that are so committed to doing battle with other members of the family and isolate themselves from connecting with a support system that is so needed.

Finally there are family members like the inquisitive hummingbird who take time to find out about others in the family structure and to smell the perfume. On this journey in building healthier families, it might be helpful to determine what kind of person you are and work on moving to healthier places of connection within your own family system

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About James Gorton

I am happily married to Nadine, a person I've known for 20+ years. She and her late husband owned Airpark Auto Service where I took my car for years. Four years after my wife died we began dating and the rest is history. We have a blended family of 6 children between us and love visiting them across this country. We recently had our third grandchild between us. We love to hike, bike and ski. I am a psychologist and do relational life coaching for marriages and families primarily. I love what I do and never get tired of seeing marriages and families move to more healthy places in their lives. Five years ago my oldest daughter Deborah encouraged me to begin writing my thought into a blog I call my Jlog (Jim's log). I have become more and more passionate in connecting everyday experiences to spiritual truths. I hope that as you read my Jlog, you will gain insight into your personal life and experience true growth in your personal and relational life.
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