Hummingbird May Be a Guest or a Mirror for You

When you’re feeling drab and made out of old leftovers from others who seem more colorful than you, look to Hummingbird to mirror back to you your radiance and strength.

Maybe Hummingbird is your grandmother saying hello.

When Hummingbird crosses my path, what first grabs my attention is the loud swooshing sound created by the little bird’s wings as he dives toward a source of nectar. Then, I look around for a flash of iridescent rainbow colors and when I spy it, I know I’ve received my blessing for the day.

I placed a feeding station in my backyard, which I prefer to call my hummingbird altar, that’s located right outside a window above the kitchen sink. Although I wish I had fields of red hibiscus blooms for hummingbirds to feed upon, I do not, so the store bought feeder must suffice. My lifestyle doesn’t include much time at my kitchen sink, but today I stood mindlessly eating lunch at that very place when a hummingbird appeared at the feeder outside. The hummingbird, rather than hovering to drink the juice, sat very still on the thin perch and took his time to sip nectar. Because the window is tinted, I didn’t think he could see me, but I sensed that he watched me looking at him.

One of the many hummingbird legends suggest that these small birds serve as a bridge between worlds, and that often one’s ancestor return for a visit disguised as the flashy little bird. When my father was dying of cancer, I asked him to give me a sign that he was okay when he’d reached the other side by appearing as a white rose on a red rosebush. In his weary state, he said, “No, too difficult.” I then suggested that he show up as an unusual bird in an unexpected place. He said he could manage that.

We have a family story of how Dad did show up soon after he died; as a blue heron in a most unexpected place. We still laugh and cry over that sighting, so it occurred to me that maybe this could be my father appearing in the feathered body of an oddly still little hummingbird to remind me to stop, move into stillness and drink in the charm of all the little creatures around me.

Because hummingbirds exist only in the western hemisphere, there are no legends handed down from cultures other than from North and South America.

My favorite is a Mayan legend that tells of the very first two hummingbirds that were created after all the other birds had been fashioned. Green Feather God who made them used the feather scraps left over from the construction of crimson sunbirds and blue-crowned parakeets, and was so pleased with the result that he planned a wedding ceremony for the two hummingbirds. Butterflies designed a sacred ceremonial room and a bottlebrush let loose her soft red spikes to make a carpet. Spiders wove a bridal pathway. Bees filled pots with honey for the feast. Father Sun bestowed upon the festivities a warm brilliant light. Guests gathered, sang and danced in the garden, but also noticed that whenever the small groom turned away from Father Sun, he became drab like a sparrow, but that his dazzling red and green colors glowed again whenever Hummingbird faced the sun.

Altar for Hummingbird

Hummingbird through the night:  Can you imagine being a hummingbird waiting near the coast of northern Panama at dusk for the right moment to begin a nonstop flight north over the Gulf of Mexico? Alone? For 18-20 hours straight? Hummingbirds teach us about courage, tenacity, beauty and embracing solitude.

Even when we feel as if we are just made out of leftovers from stronger and more lovely creatures, if we remain facing toward Father Sun, our colors shine with a numinous iridescence as we gather strength and courage to fly solo to reach our Destiny.

What creatures great or small have moved you? Which insect, animal or bird is your totem animal? Of all Nature has gifted us with, from where do you draw your strength?



  1. I like to think that the tortoise will help guide me in patience and wisdom….and I keep his replica in my pocket to remind me to slow down and think……however…the humming bird shows himself in many ways to me….through gifts from friends and postings on websites of friends and i just bought an ornament with a humming bird on it…hmmmm

    • Heather says:

      Callie! Tortoise is such a Zen-like animal, slow, steady and always at peace with self and surroundings whether in the shell or out, but a good reminder not to hide away when it’s not necessary. Let me know how the hummingbird ornament plays out for you. Maybe a good balance for tortoise energy. Love.

  2. Sonia Munson says:

    The Eagle….when at my lowest and I am praying , praying, praying…the eagle has shown himself…flying in front of me…swooping up in front of my car as I drive, Flying across my sight as I sit waiting at a red light. Praying for strength and answers..
    .Isaiah 40:28-31
    28 Have you never heard?
    Have you never understood?
    The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of all the earth.
    He never grows weak or weary.
    No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
    29 He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
    30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
    31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
    They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

  3. Gail DeZon says:

    In my world, I believe my (two) beloved Moms – (mother and mother in law) visit me in the form of butterflies….

    • Heather says:

      Gail! How charming that you have butterfly visits from two important women in your life. And, how wonderful that you experienced having a mother-in-law whom you would refer to as being beloved. A blessing.

  4. Horses and polar bears show up in my dreams quite a bit. But the devastating ones are when the horses are dying.
    My awake life is full of birds, and hummingbirds for our friend, Gary. Remember the hummingbird that came to hover just a couple of feet from my face after he died? And it sat there…and we looked at each other?

  5. Heather- I have always identified bears as being my totem; ever since I moved out here to Calif. Although not hummingbirds in particular but I collect all kinds of bird statues, along with bears. . I like the idea of the freedom of being able to fly away from & to fly towards & the groundedness of bears. Geri

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