• Heather Davis

Hummingbirds and the Beauty in Being Earnest

Updated: Mar 6


There is no better illustration of the beauty and fulfillment that can be found in daily industriousness than the hummingbird. These busy little birds are a colorful, speedy example of grit.

At times it can be a challenge to keep yourself motivated, day after day, as you march towards a goal line. Let’s take some inspiration from what feels like the extreme satisfaction hummingbirds seem to derive from their daily work.

I am lucky to share my homestead with a bounty of the Anna’s Hummingbird, who are year-round residents of SoCal and other western locals. And why not? All that migrating and commuting of other humming-and-other birds. Save it. There’s plenty to do right here.

But like the rest of us, in order to afford to live in sunny L.A., these hummers have to hustle. You think these little guys are calling in sick? Taking the day off? Loafing off on their phones all day? I think not. They’re up early, getting things done. They don’t sit in traffic. They take advantage of the cool and peaceful mornings before all the noise takes over.

While I want to think these little birds somehow like me, it’s probably their symbiotic relationship and the sweet payoff of my Birds of Paradise flowers, in all their show-off splendor, that keeps them here. The hummingbird’s sugar intake is so high that if they weren’t so active, they might well slip into a diabetic coma.

"There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither." - Alan Cohen

But while we often see them at top speed, a full 80% of their day is spent perched. Don’t let the stillness fool you, these birds are effective multitaskers, all the while digesting, planning and meditating. Here we are reminded of the immense value of taking time to still and silence ourselves. We all need to recharge before we speed off again into the chaos of life.


These birds generally stay within their range permanently and become protective of their space.

During courtship, when the male Anna’s Hummingbird finds a female hummer of interest, he turns his iridescent feathers toward the sun and puts on a brilliant display. He also sings and does aerial dive-bombs during this interview. I’d say that’s taking dinner and a movie up a notch.

Celebrating those fancy feathers and moves, is Hummer I.

And anyway, I’ve heard of worse security options in a big city than territorial, dive-bombing hummingbirds looking for a date.

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