The Double Life of the Hummingbird
“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.”
You might guess that the hummingbird, darting around from flower to flower with wings beating some 60 times a second, must burn a lot of energy to keep going. If a 65-pound boy burned up energy at the same rate, he would eat 100 pounds of chicken every day. The fact is, the hummingbird will die if it goes for more than two hours without eating. You might wonder, if the hummingbird cannot go more than two hours without eating, when does it sleep? The fact is, the hummingbird does sleep a good eight hours every night. How does he do it?
God has given the hummingbird a most remarkable metabolism. During the day, the hummingbird’s heart must beat 10 times every second as it keeps its incredibly fast metabolism going. But when it goes to sleep, the hummingbird’s heart slows down to less than one beat per second – about the same as ours. And to further slow his metabolism, the hummingbird’s normal daytime temperature drops from 100 (F) degrees to the same temperature as the night air – 50 or 60 degrees. This drop in temperature would kill most warm-blooded animals. But all of this enables the hummingbird to go without food for a good eight-hour sleep.
The hummingbird provides more than enough evidence that the Creator really does care for His creatures, even when they are asleep.
Dear Father, I thank You that You care for me even when I am asleep and cannot protect myself. Comfort me with this truth, especially when I am fearful of the night. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Bob Devine, Uncle Bob’s Animal Stories (Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1986), pp. 38-39. Photo: Green Violetear hummingbird. Courtesy of Mdf. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.