Hummingbird in Yellow Flowers

This is a photo of a Costas Hummingbird dangling its feet while enjoying the nectar of the yellow bells of a Trumpet bush.

In Native American culture (as well as many other societies in the Americas), hummingbirds symbolize joy, freedom, and healing. Their unique characteristics are powerful and plentiful. It is especially healing to watch these little birds fly around, especially once you learn about their unique traits:

• Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly up, down, sideways, forwards, and backwards! They can dive at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. Twice a year, during migrations, they will travel up to 5,000 miles – flying non-stop for up to 500 miles.

• Because of the enormous amounts of energy they expend during the day, Hummingbirds will starve within a matter of 2 to 3 hours if they are without nectar.

• A hummingbird’s tongue can stick out as far as its bill is long. When not in use, their tongue wraps under the jaw, behind and over the head.

• One species of hummingbirds is the smallest bird in the world, weighing less than a dime!

• Similar to bears during the winter months, when hummingbirds go to sleep each night, they go into a state of hibernation called tupor. Their heart rate drops from 1,260 to 50 beats per minute and their body temperatures lower by about 70 degrees.

• Hummingbirds visit an average of 1,000 flowers for nectar every day. They can remember every single flower they’ve been to and how long it will take those flowers to refill. They play a critical role in pollination, including the ability to pollinate wildflowers that can stabilize soil after fires.

It’s fairly evident why many cultures have revered hummingbirds and why these otherwise understated, little powerhouses are so mesmerizing and healing!

T.L. Wilson

T.L. Wilson (formerly Terry Wise) has lived through a myriad of personal and professional lives, each of which has led her to the same place, with the same purpose: to provide hope and inspiration to others. Terry is the author of Waking Up: Climbing Through the Darkness, a book that offers a road map to emotional health to people who are faced with a diversity of life’s challenges (grief, depression, suicidality). Terry served on the boards of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the American Association of Suicidology and spent a decade delivering keynote speeches in every state in the United States. After happily re-marrying in 2010, Terry wrote a novel, Viewer Indiscretion, penned under the name T.L. Wilson. Terry’s most recent endeavor as a photographer is to capture and share the beauty of the world around us through a different lens—a camera lens. It is her belief that recovery from mental health challenges is achieved incrementally and it is her hope that each image will provide doses of joy to the eye and warmth to the heart. Her mission is to make the world a better place one book at a time, one word at a time and now…one photograph at a time. To view more images, please visit