Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Hummingbird

The hummingbird's delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life's sweetest creation.

Hummingbirds are absolutely, fascinating to watch as they flit, float, and fly in backyards all across the country. With their brilliant colors, unique flying abilities, and their signature humming sound, hummingbirds are a backyard favorite. It is also the only bird that can fly backwards and sideways.  It has an unusual hovering pattern and can move its little wings in a figure eight pattern...a symbol of infinity.  Many people enjoy hummingbirds, but know little about these amazing little creatures...and little they are. They are the smallest birds in the world.  The babes are the size of a raisin when born.

Lately I have become completely enthralled with a little Allen hummingbird named Phoebe.  This little bird and her delinquent son, Scout, have brought me so much joy since I stumbled upon her on UStream.  She makes her home in a rosebush to which she returns year after year.  Phoebe is now awaiting the hatch of her fifth and final clutch of the year but has had a bit of hard time of it with Scout, the baby from her fourth clutch who has been having a bit of a hard time separating from mama.  He has actually become quite a pest. Below is a video of some of his antics.  (Note: neither Phoebe nor Scout actually hurt each other, and Scout is not hungry.  According to the host, Scout has been eating well in the garden, and I have seen him in the background drinking some nectar from a rose.  He just doesn't want to leave his mama's side...but now it seems he has since he hasn't been around since Sunday.  And yes, the little tyke does know how to break your heart.) 

They say that his behavior is very unusual as once a hummingbird fledges, they usually don't come back to the nest, but little Scout has not only pestered his mom at her new nest, but gone to his old nest and called her to feed him.  Some think it is because he is an only child, his sibling died soon after hatching.  Others say he fledged too soon.  No one seems to know, but Phoebe sure does teach us what patience means.  The above went on for several days until Scout finally moved on his own. 

Hummingbirds have long been part of myths and legends.  A Kraho myth gives the hummingbird a negative relation to water, since it is the only creature capable of flying through flamesIn Mayan tradition Hummingbird is associated with the Black Sun and the Fifth World and is said to know the solution to the riddle of duality. Hopi and Zuni legends tell of hummingbirds convincing the gods to bring rain to help humans. Aztecs believed the god of music and poetry took the form of a hummingbird and went into the underworld to make love to a goddess, who then gave birth to the first flower. The Chayma people of Trinidad believed the hummingbirds to be dead ancestors so there was a taboo against harming them.  According to the Inca, small whirring birds, especially hummingbirds, are sometimes recognized as visiting souls, hovering between the dimensions of life and death.

As a totem, Hummingbird shows us how to re-visit the past for the purpose of releasing it instead of being caught in a permanently backward flight pattern. It so helps us to see that if we step aside we may see our life differently. Hummingbird teaches us to transcend time, to recognize that what has happened in the past and what might happen in the future is not nearly as important as what we are experiencing now. It teaches us to hover in the moment, to appreciate its sweetness.--Constance Barrett Sohodski


  1. Mary.....thanks for this intriguing post on hummingbirds today. I, too, love to watch them whenever I am able. I have one who visits me often flying right up to the window in from of my computer. He admires himself in the window for a second and then flies off somewhere else so others may see his beauty. Special creatures they are.




  2. Hummingbirds are lovely.

    But... How are you??????????????????


  3. love hummingbirds and welcome ours back every spring..thanks for the link.

  4. I remember the first time I ever saw a hummingbird in real life -- I was over 30 years old but I was as amazed as if I were a little child again. They are so magical!

  5. We have hoards of hummingbirds in our backyard. They buzz around the flowers and the feeders and even whiz by our heads. They are amazing creatures.