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What Do Hummingbirds Symbolize? Meaning & Symbolism Explained

Hummingbird Symbolism

Hummingbirds are definitely among the most specific and recognizable birds on Earth. It is easy to see why if you consider some common traits of more than 350 known species – the nectar-based diet, bright and shiny coloration, acrobatic flying abilities, and famously tiny size.

In fact, hummingbirds are the smallest members of the avian class. Did you know that the official world’s tiniest bird – the Bee Hummingbird – is only 2.25 inches long and weighs less than two grams?

It is no wonder that the minuscule size and the insect-like flight near their blooming feeding stations often get hummingbirds mistaken for bees and butterflies!

The overall uniqueness of hummingbirds has earned them a special place in human culture, too. In many native and modern cultures, hummingbirds are considered to be a symbol of good luck, intertwined with many positive things.

Let’s dive deep into the world of hummingbird symbolism.

 

Hummingbird Meaning & Symbolism

Observing hummingbirds with their glistening colors and incredible speed is pure joy. That is why Hummingbirds have made a big impression on people encountering them ever since the first civilizations appeared.

When you consider the beauty of the first impression (and all the subsequent ones, too!) it is no wonder that Hummingbirds symbolize happiness, luck, good intentions, healing, help, and renewal in many cultures.

Hummingbirds have significantly impacted the beliefs, spirituality, and legends of many native peoples that shared their range.

For example, a captivating legend from the Kwakwaka’wakw, the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, says that the Wild Woman of the Woods and the guardian of the mountains called Dzunuk’wa loved the Hummingbird so much that she let the bird create a nest in her hair.

As a return favor for having such a safe place to nest, the Hummingbird made Dzunuk’wa beautiful by playing the role of her hair jewelry.

 

What Does It Mean When You See A Hummingbird?

Traditionally, seeing a hummingbird is a good omen, signaling good fortune or a favorable event about to unfold.

Many Native American people believe that seeing a Hummingbird brings luck – especially before a critical event.

Did you know? On average, these little birds live to be around five years old.

The importance of hummingbirds to the human spirit of the time is especially obvious if we consider the way people lived back then.

Rivoli's Hummingbird

© Doug Donaldson

In the ancient times of Native American tribes, something we take for granted as safe today – something like a hunting trip or travel to another settlement – were all risky and critical endeavors. The Hummingbird’s peculiar appearance and the beliefs that went with it boosted the spirit of people on the road or during essential everyday activities.

Learn more: Symbolism of Birds

Today, in safer times when people have time and space to enjoy complex feelings beyond pure survival, hummingbirds can also be observed as catalysts of romantic feelings due to their grace, and especially the way they hoover (the equally gorgeous) flowers. That role shines even more if we consider their traditional role as messengers.

Hummingbirds are considered messengers – a sort of energy couriers that can transfer good thoughts between people and bring good news from both the living and the dead (we’ll discuss that in more detail below).

 

Hummingbird Spiritual Meaning

Rufous Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are a supportive and optimistic spiritual symbol. The Hummingbird has several distinct roles in the spiritual realm.

  • Bringing comfort, joy, and healing to people in need – whether ill, traveling, or anticipating major life events.
  • Serving as symbols of infinity and rebirth.
  • Instilling hope, prosperity and resilience in the spirit.
  • Reminding us of the importance of being in the moment (“staying afloat”) and appreciating every moment.
  • Acting as spiritual messengers.
  • Portraying the importance of spiritual freedom.

 

Healing

In Native American culture, hummingbirds are considered healers, helping bring recovery and overall help to a person stricken with such misfortune.

Related: How to attract hummingbirds?

The Hummingbird’s ancient healing role has also transferred to modern times. Individuals with health issues may find the Hummingbird to be a comforting symbol that radiates the message of resilience and renewal.

 

Angels and Spirits

Hummingbirds and angels have no direct connections; however, these birdies can have an angelic role as messengers.

In Christianity, for example, the archangel Gabriel brought good news in the Bible; Hummingbirds are too believed to be messengers of good fortune in many native cultures. Thus, they can be viewed as angel equivalents in civilizations that haven’t developed the concept of the (Judeo-Christian) angel.

Interestingly, there is a Lucifer Hummingbird, but they have nothing to do with the devil.

Lucifer Hummingbird

In native Mexican cultures, the Hummingbird is a best wishes carrier. If a hummingbird flutters around you, it is bringing you positive thoughts from another person – living or deceased. Also, you can “use” a nearby hummingbird to send a loving message to someone dear.

In Aztec culture, hummingbirds represented the sun god Huitzilopochtli.

Another angelic streak in Hummingbird symbolism is protection in the context of tattoos.

 

Hummingbird Tattoo Meaning

Hummingbird is a popular modern tattoo design. Besides looking beautiful, the Hummingbird tattoo motif carries a lot of positive symbolism.

A Hummingbird tattoo represents renewal, transformation, joy, and even immortality. In general, it is a highly positive symbol.

Suppose you decide to get a hummingbird tattoo. In that case, you’ll give away the impression of a free-spirited, optimistic, bright individual who appreciates the beauty of life and likes to live in the moment.

Likewise, a hummingbird tattoo is sometimes thought to ward off evil spirits, giving it another angel-like role as a guardian.

Read more: Bird Tattoo Meanings & Ideas

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a hummingbird symbolize?

Hummingbirds symbolize various positive things – joy, good fortune, resilience, and recovery. Traditionally, mostly in native cultures across the Americas, the symbol of the Hummingbird is believed to bring healing to the suffering and signals good luck to hunters and travelers.

Also, undeniably, the Hummingbird is an ultimate symbol of beauty, cherished for its otherworldly looks both in real life and in legends.

Also, a Hummingbird can be a powerful symbol of mindfulness and savoring the present moment.

Broadly speaking, a Hummingbird definitely symbolizes a positive life force or a spirit.

What do hummingbirds mean in the Bible?

Hummingbirds are not directly mentioned in the Bible. However, all the Bible metaphors related to birds also apply perfectly to Hummingbirds.

In the Bible, birds repeatedly appear as creatures and messengers of God, symbolizing the freedom of spirit, peace, and resilience.

A perfect example – and highly applicable to hummingbirds – is found in the New Testament, Matthew 6:26-34, specifically verse 26. It says, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Hummingbirds, who feed on nectar, make a perfect example of being provided for by God in perhaps a bit unexpected way.

Are Hummingbirds a symbol of luck?

Hummingbirds are a potent symbol of luck – both the internal, personal luck and the luck wished upon by someone dear to you, living or gone.

Seeing a hummingbird is considered a lucky event that promises good fortune in your current effort.

Do hummingbirds communicate with humans?

Hummingbirds don’t truly communicate with humans. In our physical reality, they may observe you for a while in flight but will not attempt to make “contact” of any kind.

However, in a spiritual realm, the very appearance of a hummingbird communicates something – and it’s usually good news.

By most widespread beliefs, encountering a hummingbird is a sign of good luck coming your way or a message from a loving person who is sending you positive feelings and thoughts.

You can also “use” a hummingbird to make a wish or send a message to a beloved one in this world or another world.

What does it mean when a hummingbird gets close to you?

When a hummingbird gets close to a person, it is usually considered a messenger, similar to a guardian angel. It can mean someone is lovingly thinking of you or sending you good thoughts or prayers.

Also, if you are anticipating an important event or are in a turbulent period of your life, a hummingbird getting close to you can signal that everything will turn out for the best.

 

Conclusions

In ancient and modern times, a Hummingbird has come to symbolize beauty, delight, good fortune, healing, and the miracle of life itself. That is why you’ll often find Hummingbird-inspired art, decoration, jewelry, tattoo designs, and other objects.

Even if you don’t believe in the spiritual realm and you are not superstitious, let’s be objective. You can’t deny that observing a precious creature such as a hummingbird, especially from up close, can boost one’s mood and spirit to the point of a miracle.

You can’t feel anything but blessed if approached by one of these avian jewels.

About the Author

Katarina Samurovic

Katarina Samurovic is an Environmental Analyst (MSc) with two decades of experience in studying and supporting nature. A biophilic writer and educator, she uses her skills to bridge the gap between natural and human realms. She is a proud member of the Serbian BirdLife branch and enjoys field trips, birdwatching, turning rocks and logs (and always putting them back in place!), and gardening with the family.

Let others know your thoughts or ask an expert

Victoria

Saturday 28th of October 2023

Can you please explain why a hummingbird flew in front of my face and kept doing a dance. My bestfriend it happened to him two day's before. The following Friday my bestfriend was murdered by his childhood bestfriend. My bestfriend is the one it flew the Friday before he died. Was the hummingbirds telling us this? This happened in August 2006 and I can't get over his death.

Patrick O'Donnell

Thursday 2nd of November 2023

@Victoria- I'm so very sorry for your loss. Experiences with hummingbirds can mean all sorts of things. When one hovers in front of you, it's usually because the bird is curious about something that reminds it of a flower. However, you never know, perhaps your friend was in some way, letting you know that he is thinking about you, is alright, and doesn't want you to worry.

Chelsey

Saturday 30th of September 2023

I appreciate your article so much! I had just saw a hummingbird flying so close & we were face to face as I was studying the Word! Definitely felt very blessed in that moment & will cherish it forever! I believe by sending me that hummingbird at that specific time God was showing me Holy Spirit is with me, joy, peace, resilience, & being a defender of my territory as we have been talking about that in Ministry School ! It’s such a great school called Word Alive School of Ministry (WASOM) !!! Thank you! God bless! ❤️

Patrick O'Donnell

Thursday 5th of October 2023

@Chelsey- Thanks for sharing your story, what a treasure to have a hummingbird come that close!

Christine Ryan- Rogers

Saturday 2nd of September 2023

Thank you for explaining about the amazing hummingbird.I saw two at two different times when my heart and mind were very heavy thinking about my mom. It made me cheer up instantly and felt that she was near telling me to cheer up like she always used to. Either way I cheered up instantly. Mom/ hummingbird magic!

Patrick O'Donnell

Monday 4th of September 2023

@Christine- Happy to hear that! It's amazing how birds can help us during difficult times.

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