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Something Wonderful: Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

Slow your scroll. Stop. Abide here for two minutes. Restore your soul. Promise.

“When you find that you can neither go backwards nor forward…when you are convinced that all the exits are blocked, either you take to believing in miracles or you stand still like the hummingbird. The miracle is that the honey is always there, right under your nose, only you were to busy searching elsewhere to realize it. The worst is not death but being blind, blind to the fact that everything about life is in the nature of the miraculous.” ~Henry Miller from Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

Hummingbirds live exclusively in the Americas. The smallest can weigh less than two grams. The largest, the giant hummingbird found in Peru and Chile, tips the scales at around 20 grams. You could send something that weight in the U.S. mail with a single first-class stamp. World’s smallest birds is just one of several distinctions that hummingbird species claim. They’re the only birds that can hover in still air for 30 seconds or more. They’re the only birds with a “reverse gear”—that is, they can truly fly backward. And they’re the record holders for the fastest metabolic rate of any vertebrate on the planet.

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  • jwm January 2, 2020, 12:26 PM

    I needed that.


  • Traveling Man&&&& January 2, 2020, 12:54 PM

    I’ve actually held a hummingbird in my hand, captured from a porch skylight where it had flown as we were screening in the porch. It had become confused and couldn’t figure out how to escape.

    I climbed a step ladder and gently grabbed it when it became too exhausted to keep flying around the skylight.

    It felt like it’s heart was beating a thousand times a minute.

    Their beaks are really soft and pliable. I reckon that’s so they can bend their beak if necessary to get at the nectar in the longer flowers?

    I set it down on the porch railing so it could get back to its buddies that hovered around the feeders festooning the perimeter of the porch and deck.

  • Casey Klahn January 2, 2020, 2:48 PM

    My compliments on today’s sidebar. Always great but esp. today.

  • DAN January 2, 2020, 3:51 PM

    WELL something wonderful, the little darlings, up here in the cariboo of mid B.C. they arrive in early to mid april & are THE MOST IMPORTANT pollinators of the saskatoons, mainly because the bees what few are left don’t work well in the cold. i feed 2-3 thousand yearly & my place is a banding station YES they do get banded, not by me tho,eyesight not good enough & fingers not nimble enough, belive me the bands are damn small.now the next question coming is HOW DO YOU COUNT thousands of birds & it is kinda simple one goes by the amount of juice you go thru, & altho it’s not totally 100 percent it’s close enough for the average, 65 birds will consume a cup a day on average. so all you do is keep track of gallons per day & there you have it. go thru 100+ lbs of sugar per year but they are worth it & they also eat black flies,mosquitoes & no seeums. mother used to feed them in paradise so i’m sure she would be pleased with her baby boy. & by the by the baby birds come back to where they were born & this is why each year they increase in numbers, kinda like salmon. being so far away from the ocean it’s kinda like a message in a bottle for me.you would not believe how many banding stations there are in canada &the states so if you find a dead bird check it’s leg for a band. science project that got outa hand like most of mine tend to do. CHEERS DAN

  • captflee January 2, 2020, 3:59 PM

    And a hearty “Well done!” to Anand Varna, son of the South and Berkeley grad!

  • captflee January 2, 2020, 4:06 PM

    Sorry…that should read Varma.

  • TN Tuxedo January 2, 2020, 7:00 PM

    My first experience with hummingbirds began with my ears, not my eyes. I heard what sounded to my eight-year-old ears like the world’s largest hornet coming up behind me. It twists the mind to think that a bird can fly like that.

  • Tom Hyland January 2, 2020, 7:18 PM

    I maintain only one hummingbird feeder. That’s enough entertainment for me. I know folks who have a dozen feeders and it’s like a storm of madness swirling every direction. Crazy. At summer’s peak the birds drain my one bottle daily. I’ve heard we aren’t doing them any favors pouring this concoction for them. Water and sugar has no calcium and a major diet of this mixture weakens their egg shells. Is this true?

  • Lynne January 2, 2020, 8:37 PM

    I have two hummingbird feeders in front of my kitchen window. My hummingbirds are the Anna hummingbirds, and they live here, on southern Vancouver Island, year round. I adore them. And I think they know that, and reciprocate the emotion. Thank you, Gerard. For this very special post.

  • DAN January 3, 2020, 6:25 AM

    TOM haven’t heard that,doesn’t seem to be having any effect on the eggs,as i mentioned they also eat flying bugs so they don’t live soley on sugar water.plus whatever plants happen to be blooming. CHEERS DAN

  • Jerry January 3, 2020, 7:21 AM

    When I was eight years old, living in Tucson, a hummingbird had built a nest on a relatively low branch. We were able to peer into the nest by standing on a stool. The nest was small, the size of a fifty cent piece, feather lined and had two tiny eggs, each the size of a pea. We only looked at the nest once, my parents didn’t want us to annoy the mother.

  • ghostsniper January 3, 2020, 8:57 AM

    We have 2 feeders on the front porch and they get filled every 2 days. It’s dangerous sitting out there at times when they get going. People that band animals should be banded. Leave em alone.

  • deann January 4, 2020, 10:48 AM


  • Joe January 7, 2020, 10:28 PM

    Ours have been known to find us at our windows and chatter at us if the feeder is empty or not up to snuff.