Do Hummingbird Sightings Have Special Meaning?

Even the biggest fans of the species might not know that a sighting of the brilliant, jewel-colored hummingbird may have special meaning.

hummingbird on flowerCourtesy Della Alcorn
Anna’s hummingbird

Hummingbird Meaning and Symbolism

Nature enthusiasts everywhere adore these flying jewels—so much so that there’s even a bucket list for hummingbird fans! But even those most devoted among hummingbird fans might wonder: what is the hummingbird’s meaning, and what does it mean if one visits you?

To some, sighting a hummingbird signals that challenging times are over and healing can begin. To others, these tiny fliers are an inspiring sign of hope and good luck. Hummingbirds also can have a spiritual significance and mean the spirit of a loved one is near.

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Special Encounters with Hummingbirds

Bnbbyc19 Suzy DowningCourtesy Suzy Downing

Message From Loved Ones

“Twelve years ago a dear neighbor passed away. She loved her rose of Sharon shrub, so before her home was sold, I broke off a twig and rooted it. I didn’t think it would survive, but it has grown and thrived. When it is in full bloom, I think of her! On this particular morning, I was sitting with my camera and watching the garden for hummingbird activity when I looked up and saw this sweet ruby-throated hummingbird (above) taking her time going from flower to flower. It was almost like she was posing for me. I had to smile thinking that Mrs. Berry’s spirit had sent her to me!” Suzy Downing says, describing a time a sighting of a hummingbird held special meaning.

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hummingbird meaning pandemicCourtesy John Rakis

Healing and Hope

“While I photographed many birds with my companion, Sally, during our walks in Central Park and other locations, I never had the opportunity to capture a hummingbird in flight until one spring. They are delightful to watch and we were very grateful for their presence. Hummingbirds helped us cope with the isolation imposed by social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic,” John Rakis says.

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hummingbird meaning loved oneCourtesy Deborah Doss

Memories of Mom

“Hummingbirds are dear to my heart. My mother always had a hummingbird feeder outside of our bay window, and she and I would sit and watch them fly up and eat the sugar water. My mom passed away from cancer years ago, and hummingbirds have been something that makes me think of her. I miss her so very much, but I’m thankful for these little flyers that help me feel as if a piece of her is still with me,” Deborah Doss says.

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costa's hummingbirdCourtesy Jessica Costa

Comfort During Difficult Times

“This is a Costa’s hummingbird (above); I took many pictures of him preening, and he turned around and I got a beautiful view of his purple-colored body. He visited when my husband’s father was sick and he was taking care of him. The bird left when my father-in-law passed away, and it has never returned. The bird’s name is also the same as our last name. What an amazing bird,” Jessica Costa says.

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Emily Hannemann
Emily Hannemann is an associate digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in magazine writing from the University of Missouri - Columbia. When she’s not writing and editing, you’ll find her swimming, running, or hiking. She knows blue jays are controversial, but she loves them anyway.