The tiny Hummingbird is having a huge impact on my life today. I revisited an African tale highlighted in my recent blog post, watched a youtube story about Wangari Maathai’s vision for replanting her neck of the woods in Kenya, Africa. Her story, with a hummingbird as the main character and her day to day actions, inspired me to do more, one step at a time.
What does the hummingbird mean to you? This little bird delights us with her flying ability and how she stores food in early fall. These birds seem to migrate south based on shortening daylight. The hummingbird finds its primary nutrition in insects. They especially love baby spiders. Nectar gives them instant energy for their high metabolic needs but the fat, oils, minerals for their overall needs come from insects they find while flying or in the flowers they seek for their nectar. And contrary to local lore, they do not suck nectar through a “straw” but grab the sweet droplet of energy with a tongue.
In my dream work with animal totems, I found that the hummingbird is associated with air (intelligence, higher thought, the ability to see the bigger picture.) They seem to be constantly in motion, rapid wing beats that represent persistence and a feeling of endlessness or infinity. Many cultures in the Americas believed the hummingbird represents rebirth. They also represent joy which can be a fragile thing as we are witnessing today. Spring is here and Hummingbirds will be back in the NE soon.
For a more comprehensive look at Hummingbirds, I suggest this site: World Birds by Garth C. Clifford. I enjoyed his many tips and photos for attracting and supporting these little creatures in our yards.
“Hummingbirds in the U.S. and around the world have the benefit of being garden and backyard favorites. Many people put out hummingbird feeders or grow flowers that attract hummingbirds in the warmer months that allow these birds to refuel during their long migratory journeys. What’s insight is often in mind, and many fans of hummingbirds are doing what they can to keep every backyard, park, and garden a friendly place for these beautiful birds.”(quote from Defenders of Wildlife )
And, here’s a trivia fact: “Percentage-wise, the hummingbird has the largest brain of all birds (4.2% of its total body weight).”
The hummingbird like many species is suffering the loss of habitat. We can provide a suitable habitat by placing flowers and trees, shrubs, and vines that will attract them. Another link from Bird Watching, showcases 28 plants to attract Hummingbirds: flowers, trees, shrubs, and vines listed as possible additions to your garden this year. The site includes zone hardiness for each plant and the best growing conditions. The flowers tend to range from orange to reds with trumpet type shapes.
Persistence, knowing I am enough, and knowing I am doing enough at this moment are great personal, daily reminders. I would like to suggest that we spend a few moments today contemplating this marvelous, tiny creature. Spring is here in New England and soon these delightful birds will be back showing off their shimmering iridescent wings. One more question: do you dream of hummingbirds? What do they mean to you?
I hope Wangari Maathai’s folk tale and her work in creating the Green Belt in Kenya are inspirational and motivational. The isolation we are under gives us time to reflect and be in our yards and with our realtime. I welcome your stories and your sharing. Sending Blessings to all. Judith