Hummingbird

27 Jan

Yesterday I got the privilege of witnessing the Calypte Anna or Anna’s Hummingbird courtship dance. They fly up into the air and then dive bomb (sometimes reaching 60 mph) in front of the female, when they get really close to her they make a very loud chirping sound with their tail. At first I didn’t know what the sound was or where it was coming from (hummingbirds can be hard to spot sometimes because they move so fast and are so small). Then we saw the two of them, the female sitting on a branch allowing herself to be wooed and the male flying high in the sky and swooping with great speed and sound.

At that point it was established that we were looking at a pair of hummingbirds but I did not know how unique these guys were until the light hit them just right and the feathers on their head lit up a beautiful raspberry, tangerine color that was almost flourescent, it was stunning. Their heads look black until the light catches them just in the right spot and apparently the males line up the reflection of the light when they do their courtship dance so that their heads are glowing that color for the female they are enticing.

 

I feel really grateful to have witnessed that the other day and look at it as a very auspicious sign. Apparently the Northwest Coast Native people saw the hummingbird as a messenger of joy and it is a good sign to see one before a major event. Here is a story taken from Robert James Challenger’s book Eagle’s Reflections and other Northwest Coast Stories:

“It was a warm, spring day, summer was coming and the wild flowers were in full blossom. A young girl and her mother waded through the green grass, enjoying the bright colours. They stopped as Hummingbird joined them; bussing and darting from flower to flower.

The little creature fascinated the child. She asked, “why does such a tiny bird want to fly so fast? Why doesn’t it just stay at one flower instead of visiting every one?” Her mother sat down on a hill overlooking the field and said, “let me tell you the story of Hummingbird.”

Many years ago there was a fragrant flower that rose every spring to display her beautiful petals and bright colours for all the world’s creatures to enjoy. The people and animals waited anxiously each spring for this special flower to appear. On that day they knew the warm, kind rays of summer had arrived. Raven saw how much joy this flower brought to the world, so the next spring when it appeared, he transformed it into a tiny bird. The bird had the colours of the green spring grass and the flashing red of a setting sun. Raven gave the bird a special gift – to fly like sunlight flickering through tall trees. He also gave it a message to take to all the flowers. That’s why today we see Hummingbird buzzing from flower to flower, whispering a message. Hummingbird is thanking each flower for making our world a more beautiful place.

The mother looked at her child and said, “as you grow up, remember that like each flower, each person has gifts to give the world. In return that person will be thanked by the birds, animals and flowers for helping to make our world a better place for every one.” ”

Thank you

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