4.000 x 6.000 inches
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Beverley Harper Tinsley
Painting - Watercolor
Hummingbirds are charming to observe and a delight to paint. What's more, I have always been attracted to their symbolism. This is a loosely painted study of what I believe to be a male ruby-throated hummingbird (or maybe it is a rufous), in bright shades of green, red, yellow, purple and indigo, with a bit of iridescent sheen to it when the original is viewed in sunlight.
The hummingbird symbolizes many different concepts. Because of its speed, the hummingbird is known as a messenger and stopper of time. It is also a symbol of love, joy, and beauty. The hummingbird is also able to fly backwards, teaching us that we can look back on our past. But, this bird also teaches that we must not dwell on our past; we need to move forward. When the hummingbird hovers over flowers while drinking nectar, we learn that we should savour each moment, and appreciate the things we love.
The hummingbird has powerful spiritual significance. In the Andes of South America the hummingbird is a symbol of resurrection. It seems to die on cold nights, but comes back to life again at sunrise.
Hummingbird is the creature that opens the heart. When the hurt that caused us to close our hearts gets a chance to heal, our hearts are free to open again.
With hummingbird consciousness, we learn the truth of beauty. Our life becomes a wonderland of delights in flowers, aromas and tastes. We laugh and enjoy creation, we appreciate the magic of the present moment, and the magic of being alive.
Hummingbird teaches us the medicinal properties of plants and how to work with the energy of flowers to heal ourselves and others. Hummingbirds teach us fierce independence. They teach us to fight in a way where no one gets hurt. They teach us courage. Having the courage to refrain from creating new trauma by communicating non-violently toward ourselves and others is an important part of healing. Recovering lost parts of ourselves enables us to become healthily independent.
It is not commonly known that the fluttering wings of the hummingbird move in the pattern of an infinity symbol - further solidifying their symbolism of eternity, continuity, and infinity.
By observing the Hummingbird, we see they are seemingly tireless. Always actively seeking the sweetest nectar, they remind us to forever seek out the good in life and the beauty in each day. Amazing migrators, some Hummingbirds are known to wing their way as far as 2000 miles to reach their destination. This quality reminds us to be persistent in the pursuit of our dreams, and adopt the tenacity of the Hummingbird in our lives.
Ruby-throats are intensely inquisitive and thus easily attracted to feeders, where males in particular typically display aggressive territoriality toward rival hummers, other birds, and even insects such as bees, butterflies, and sphinx moths. They quickly become accustomed to human presence, and will swoop down to investigate red articles of clothing, possibly as potential food sources. Feeders hung at windows attract as many visitors as ones farther from structures, and the bird that claims a feeder as its territory may spend much of the day perched nearby, guarding the food source against intruders. Many hummingbird watchers find "Hummer Warz" endlessly entertaining, although the chases are obviously serious business to the hungry birds. For a short period immediately after fledging, a female will tolerate the presence of her own young at the feeder, but they are soon treated the same as other adult birds - as rivals in pursuit of the food necessary to prepare for the fall migration.
Courtship is apparently very brief, if it exists at all, and once mated the female raises the young alone. The walnut-sized nest, built by the female, is constructed on a foundation of bud scales attached to a tree limb with spider silk; lichens camouflage the outside, and the inside is lined with dandelion, cattail, or thistle down. The nest will stretch to contain the growing nestlings, and may sometimes be reused (rebuilt) the following year.
Two white, pea-sized eggs are laid two or three days apart, which the female will incubate from 60 to 80 percent of the day for 12-16 days. Reports of the duration of the nestling phase vary from 14 to 31 days, the wide range possibly varying with the availability of food; 18-23 days is normal. when they leave the nest, the chicks are considerably larger than their mothers: they may weigh 4.5 grams, while poor Mom is down to only 2.5 g after the stress of raising them. Since the mother starts incubating the first egg as soon as it's laid, that chick will hatch and fledge earlier than its sibling; it will remain close to the nest until the other chick is ready to fly. After leaving the nest, fledglings are fed by their mother for about 10 days. It is thought that Ruby-throats live as long as 12 years, but the average is probably 3-5 years.
July 30th, 2013
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