Do Hummingbird Sightings Have Special Meaning?

Updated: Jul. 26, 2023

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

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?

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hummingbird on flowerCourtesy Della Alcorn
Anna’s hummingbird

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.

Discover jaw-dropping facts about hummingbirds.

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.

Check out amazing hummingbird photos that you need to see.

hummingbird meaning pandemicCourtesy John Rakis

Forming a Connection

“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.

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.

Rebeccacarter3Courtesy Rebecca Carter

Angels in Disguise

Reader Rebecca Carter shared a meaningful experience involving hummingbirds, grief and hope.

“Hummingbirds were my mother’s favorite bird. With joyful anticipation, she looked forward to seeing them every year. If anyone had questions about when those amazing little birds would be coming into Oklahoma for the summer, all they’d have to do is ask Mom. She’d know! And it seemed the love was mutual because her yard was always an active playground and dining area for hummingbirds.

In June 2021, Mom celebrated her 80th birthday. And yes, it was a hummingbird garden theme! Her birthday party would become an even more treasured gift than we knew at the time. Just six months later, my mother unexpectedly died of COVID-19. As we prepared for her funeral service, hummingbirds became part of the theme once again.

The following May, my kids and I took a trip to the zoo. I had not seen any hummingbirds in my yard yet, but I was on the lookout with the arrival of summer. As we were walking, we saw a hummingbird really close to where we were—unusually close. It went in and out of the flowers and then it flew up and above, hovering and looking at us before it flew off. I felt remarkably close to my mother in that moment. Then, as we were leaving the parking lot, a little hummingbird came up to our front window and hovered there for about 15 seconds! We were shocked at how it was clearly looking at us, as if to say goodbye.

Could it have been the same hummingbird we saw earlier? I’m not sure, but I felt a connection again. I’ve begun to wonder, could those beautiful little birds with fluttering wings be angels in disguise?

Next, learn how to attract hummingbirds with 10 expert tips.