Featured Photo by Héctor Gutiérrez Guzmán
- Physical Description: The male is 11.5–12 cm long and weighs 10.9 g. Its color is mostly cinnamon orange, excepting dark grey wings, black bill, and iridescent gold crown. The female is 10 cm long and weighs 6.8 g. Its underparts are white with a dappling of very small green and black areas; the crown is iridescent blue, and upperparts are blue-green.
- Geographic Distribution: Found today solely on Isla Robinson Crusoe, one of the three-island Juan Fernández archipelago belonging to Chile
- Environment: Inhabits forests, thickets, and gardens
Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations
The English name “hummingbird” comes form the hum created by the rapid speed at which the bird’s wings flap. John James Audubon called hummingbirds “glittering fragments of rainbows,” and they have also been called flying jewels. The sheer beauty of the hummingbird is insprirational.
Urban legend tells of hummingbirds hitching migratory rides on the backs of larger birds such as geese, for it was believed that something so tiny could not possibly fly so far on its own.
A Mayan legend tells that the Creator, after making all the other birds, had a pile of small colorful scraps left over, and fashioned a tiny bird out of them. Being made of leftovers is hardly a handicap, however. The Aztecs honored the hummingbirds as a symbol of vitality and energy. The Aztec hummingbird god Huitzilopochitli was associated with war and the sun, and the Aztecs believed that warriors would be reincarnated as hummingbirds. Dead hummingbirds were carried as talismans for good fortune in war, or to enhance a warrior’s battle skill.
In Central America, the hummingbird is seen as a symbol of sexual energy and, by extension, a symbol of love and attraction. In the American Southwest, the hummingbird was associated with brining rain and much-needed water. The form of the hummingbird was sometimes used as a decoration on water jars, and the hummingbird is part of ceremonial rain dances in both the Hopi and Zuni tribes, symbolized by a dancer dressed as a hummingbird who dances to summon rain for the crops.
Trinidad and Tobago calls itself “the land of the hummingbird.” The hummingbird is featured on the country’s coat of arms and the penny; it is also the mascot of the Caribbean Airlines.
Omens and Divinatory Meaning
If you see a hummingbird, chances are good that the message is somehow connected with vitality. The hummingbird may be telling you to watch your energy and not squander it. Although a hummingbird has plenty of vitality, it is carefully apportioned for survival. The hummingbird does not have time or energy to play; it is focused on its basic needs.
What are your basic needs? Are you dividing your energy and attention among too many things, as enjoyable as they may be? Take stock of your commitments and your extracurricular activities, and prioritize them. Make sure to prioritize those things that encourage relaxation and renewal, as well as work- and family-related responsibilities.
In addition to warning you to watch how you spend your energy, the hummingbird reminds you to take joy in the simple things, to literally slow down and smell the flowers. Bury your nose in a branch of a flowering shrub, or walk among the paths of a public garden to refresh yourself. You need to feed your emotional and spiritual selves as well as your physical being. The hummingbird, with its love of bright, sweet things and its colorful, iridescent plumage, gently scolds you to nourish that side of yourself as well, and to embrace joy.
The frequency with which the hummingbird must eat also reminds you to take plenty of small breaks to restore and maintain your energy. Ignoring your basic needs is self-destructive in the long run.
The hummingbird’s message can be summed up as urging you to live life to the fullest within your means; don’t hold back. Give it your all, but remember to relax and sip the sweetness along the way. Make sure to balance all your commitments in order to best apportion your energy.
Associated energies: Joy, energy, energy management, sweetness, vitality
Associated seasons: Summer
Element association: Air
Color associations: Green, Red, White
REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Poor endangered Firecrowns! It’s sad that native cats eat them and rats eat their eggs! If only falcons could be their friends if they weren’t birds of prey.
“Lack of time is actually lack of priorities”Timothy Ferris
Today’s divinatory meanings have really been hitting home with me! What do I have to say no to in order to say yes to something else? Where have I been spreading out too thinly? I feel that this is one of my major vices and something I can improve upon. Perhaps I experience FOMO (fear of missing out) to a high degree. I think about the time I spend here on this blog and your time spent here with me. Thank you, I hope you are getting as much value as you can from my posts.
“Your life will be a blessed and balanced experience if you first honor your identity and priority.”Russell M. Nelson
But perhaps, my priorities are often murky because I feel like my identity isn’t set in stone? Am I still exploring aspects of myself that I’m blind to and that are unknown to me? Is it hard for me to develop strong roots or depth in an area because I enjoy a variety of experiences?
Often I think of bloggers who make it their priority to post as often as they do. These bloggers sound like the real deal. How often do bloggers reevaluate their priorities? Spend more time with their families in person, work on things in their real world. Place your time where it’s important to you.