A leucistic hummingbird taught me about the safety God wants us to find and extend in our Christian communities.
He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me.Psalm 18:19 NLT
Lucy the Leucistic Hummingbird
“Come here,” I called to Pedro, “Lucy just showed up at the feeders.”
By the time he walked from the kitchen to the living room, Lucy, the partially leucistic black-chinned hummingbird, had zoomed out of sight.
“She should come back in a few minutes,” I assured him. “I only see her when she can find safety in numbers.”
Within a minute, Lucy returned, fearlessly darting over and around the other hummingbirds at the feeders. I’d spent hours watching the hummers pass through during migration, and Lucy was the first partially leucistic hummingbird I’d ever seen.
Leucism results when an animal has defective melanin-producing cells. This defect results in patches of colorless fur or feathers. The regular parts of the animal (eyes, beak, legs) have normal color.
Unlike dolphins, hummingbirds don’t spend extended amounts of time together. This lack of community living can make leucistic hummingbirds an easy target for predators. The whiter a hummingbird (or other leucistic animal), the more it will stand out.
In addition, birds with leucism have weaker feathers. Melanin plays an important role in the structural integrity of a bird’s feathers, so without it, the feathers may fray or break more easily.
A leucistic hummingbird and other melanin-deficient animals might look beautiful and appealing to humans, but potential mates might find them lacking.
How do We React to Differences?
Lucy fearlessly joined the glimmer at the feeders each evening for about a week. She seemed to know she would find safety in numbers. The other hummingbirds didn’t pick on her as she fearlessly darted between species.
How do we react to people who look or act differently from us? Do we provide a safe place for them? Hebrews 10:25 tells us, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
When we meet, may the community we form provide safety and respite for everyone.
Father God, help me to find or form a community of your people where safety and love come first. Keep my eyes, ears, and heart open, so I may reach out to those in need of Christian fellowship.