When I research my Endangered Wildlife Illuminated artwork, I take into consideration many details. In the case of hummingbirds, I am fascinated by the delicate bones and feathers of a hummingbird. A paleontologist studies the science of animal bones, yet within the scientific history, it is difficult due to the frailty of their bones and how rapidly they decompose.A hummingbird flaps its wings in around 12 beats per second. This hyperbolic speed allows the hummingbird to suspend itself over a flower and draw out nectar. Hummingbirds depend on flower nectar to fuel their high metabolism. In the evening they sleep to recuperate from the amount of energy to use in flight during the day.
Over 22 million years ago most of the hummingbird population was established in South America and North America. The storytelling of many indigenous tribes is passed down through the ages to share the beautiful history of this tiny jewel of a bird!
There are many great spiritual stories in Native American and South American cultures about hummingbirds.The Taino Tribes believe that hummingbirds where once flies that the Sun Father transformed into little birds.They saw the hummingbird as peaceful, but able to protect the heart of an eagle. To them, the hummingbird was in their culture a symbol of rebirth and called the fiercest warriors,”Hummingbird Warriors.”
The Cherokee Native Americans believe that once upon a time a medicine man turned himself into a hummingbird to retrieve a magical medicine inside of the flower. In another Cherokee tale, a beautiful woman was courting both a hummingbird and a crane. She loved the hummingbird for his good looks and the crane for his wisdom. The Crane convinced her that to win her heart; the two birds should race the around the world with the winner getting her hand in marriage. She agreed, thinking the hummingbird would win. Since the hummingbird needed to sleep at night and zigzagged during the day, the crane won by flying all night long in a straight line. She did not honor her promise to the Crane because she fell in love with the beauty of the hummingbird.
The Maya Indians believe that the very first wedding of Earth was between the first two hummingbirds. They tell a story of a Great God that used the fragments of bones of all birds that were created to form the swift, delicate wings of a hummingbird. When the Great Spirit finished creating the hummingbird, the couple and all of the other animals in the forest were invited to the wedding. Everything was beautiful, except for the hummingbirds. The hummingbird couple had plain grey feathers. The other birds offered to adorn the grey hummingbirds with their beautiful feathers as a wedding gift. The Sun officiated the ceremony and promised that the hummingbird's feathers would gleam with magical colors as long as the hummingbird looked toward the sun.
The Aztecs “God of Sun,” is also called the “Hummingbird Wizard.” The Aztec warriors believed that if they died in battle, they would be reincarnated as a hummingbird or a butterfly. In Aztec culture, only royal and religious leaders were allowed to wear hummingbird feathers. The ancient Aztec's would decorate their kings with ceremonial capes made up internally hummingbird bird wings.
I hope through these hummingbird tales to create an understanding and appreciation for all endangered hummingbirds. Hummingbird lore has a colorful history that just might help preserve and aid in their protection of Amazon Rainforest.
Please enjoy the following Endangered Wildlife Illumination Hummingbird Works and other hummingbird details by artist Judith Haron.
Featured artworks: Emerald Hummingbird (top), The Illuminated Letter (center), and Humpback Whale (bottom)