The Spiritual Meaning of Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds symbolize enjoyment of life, lightness of being and beauty. They teach us to enjoy the sweetness of life and to be more present to the magic of the present moment. When the hummingbird hovers over flowers   while drinking nectar, we learn that we should savor each moment, and appreciate  the things we love. Always actively seeking the sweetest nectar, they remind us to forever seek out the good in life and the beauty in each day. Their physical lightness reminds us to lighten up. The hummingbird can teach us that when we seek to spread more beauty, joy and love in the world, then we will be more abundantly rewarded by life for doing so.  Hummingbirds truly do move with the flow of Life, teaching us to do the same and to change course when that is what needs to happen. Hummingbirds are tireless in their pursuit of joy and all that is good and hopefully they inspire us to do the same.

Hummingbirds are very territorial by nature and will take on other creatures many times their size in order to protect their nests and offspring. They teach us to be fearless and value and protect what is important.


Hummingbird Facts
Hummingbirds are one of the most astonishing animals on the planet.  Ounce for ounce they are the most fearless creatures and if they were our size, we wouldn't have a chance against them.  They are beautiful, magical and spiritual. 
There are 356 species of hummingbirds.  Only twelve species regularly breed in the United States, though up to two dozen species have been reported and observed.  The largest number of species are found in South America.  Ecuador has the most species and they are much more exotic than the ones that North America sees.  Albino hummingbirds are not a separate species, they are birds that  just didn’t develop color in their plumage.
Hummingbirds are only located in the Western Hemisphere, mainly North and South America but can be found in Canada and Alaska.  They are not found in Hawaii however.
They are the tiniest birds on the planet.  Female hummingbirds are usually larger than male hummingbirds.  The bee hummingbird is the smallest living bird in the world and can only be found in Cuba.  In North America, the smallest bird is the Calliope Hummingbird which measures just 3 inches long.  Hummingbirds weigh somewhere between the weight of a penny and a nickel, so less than an ounce.
This is an Anna’s Hummingbird and look how tiny it is next to a quarter.
A hummingbird’s brilliant throat color is caused by iridescence in the arrangement of the feathers and the influence of light level and other factors.  It is not just the color of the feathers, but a very sophisticated system of lighting like a prism.  The brightly colored feathers on the hummingbird's neck are called a gorget.  The hummingbird has the fewest number of feathers than any other bird, with only around 1000 feathers.
A hummingbird has the largest brain in proportion to weight than any other bird at around 4% of the hummingbird’s total weight.  Hummingbirds are very smart and can remember where flowers are, whether they visited that flower and how long it will take a flower to refill before they should visit again.  They certainly are smart enough to train humans to keep sugar water filled bottles hung outside for them to visit.  Let the bottle get empty and they will find a way to let you know.
Hummingbirds have no sense of smell but have great eyesight.  They can see farther than humans and can see ultraviolet light, which humans cannot see.  So their world looks much different than ours.  They have excellent hearing as well.
A hummingbird beats its wings between 60 and 200 flaps per second depending on conditions such as air and wind conditions.  They fly an average of 30 miles per hour but can hit speeds of 60 miles per hour when fighting or trying to impress a mate.  They can fly both forward and backwards or just hover in mid-air.  I have seen them upside down while flying. Thirty percent of the bird’s weight is in its flight muscles. Their wings travel in a figure eight, like the sign for infinity.  It makes getting a great hummingbird photograph that much more difficult.  Their wings are see-through and very delicate.  The human eye cannot see a hummingbird’s wings because they beat so fast so they are just a blur to the naked eye.  They are called hummingbirds because of the sound that the wings make when they are flying.
Hummingbirds lap up nectar from feeders and flowers with their exceptionally long tongues.  The tongue has tiny hairs at the tip to help lick up the nectar at around fifteen licks per second.  The birds need to eat up to eight times per hour and will consume half of their body weight in sugar every day.  Their bodies are amazingly efficient at converting the sugar to energy.  There is no danger they will eat too much sugar.   Hummingbirds also eat small bugs for protein, usually catching them in the air with amazing accuracy.   Hummingbirds play a huge role in pollination and many plants depend on them for this.  Hummingbirds seem to like red flowers and tubular flowers the best.
The hummingbird has the largest heart proportionally in body weight of any animal. Its heart beats 250-480 beats per minute when at rest and can go as high as 1,260 beats per minute when active. A human, on the other hand, has a typical heartbeat of 75 beats per minute.  The hummingbird’s heart comprises 2.5% of the bird’s total body weight.  The average temperature of a hummingbird is between 102 – 108°F.  And they take 250 breaths per minute while at rest.
Hummingbirds do not mate for life.  The females do all the nest building, hatching the babies and raising the young chicks.  Their eggs are extremely small, measuring less than a half inch.  Usually the female will lay two eggs.  A newly hatched hummingbird is just a little larger than a dime.  Usually the babies will stay in the nest for about three weeks until they learn to fly.  It is not uncommon for different species of hummingbirds to cross breed, making identifying them very difficult.
Hummingbirds have an average life span of five to ten years, although longer lifetimes of banded birds have been documented.  As the birds have migrated in and out, over the last twenty years I continue to see some of the same birds year after year.
The rufous hummingbird has the longest migration of any hummingbird with a distance of more than 3,000 miles from Alaska or Canada to its winter retreat in Mexico.  The ruby-throated hummingbird will fly 500 miles nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico during its twice a year migrations.  Each trip usually takes about twenty hours.  Some hummingbirds will double their weight before leaving on their migration, but it is still an amazing feat to accomplish for such a tiny bird that usually requires food several times an hour, but yet is able fly great distances with no stops.  There are many species of hummingbirds who do not migrate at all.
At night hummingbirds sometime go into a hibernation-like state called torpor in order to conserve energy.  When in torpor, the birds metabolic rate drops, its heart drops to around 50 beats per second and its temperature can drop as low as 70°F. Torpor can save up to 60-70% of a hummingbird's available energy.  Sometimes it will appear as if they are dead and can sometimes be found hanging upside-down. It can take up to an hour for a hummingbird to fully recover from torpor.