© 2008 Michael Auld
Image: (1) Huitzilopochtli, the Mexica’s hummingbird-warrior and sun-god. (2) Jamaica’s national bird, the Streamtailed or “doctorbird”. (3) Cuba’s bumblebee-sized hummingbird superimposed on an image of the biggest hummer, the swif-sized South American Patagonia gigas. (4) Jamaican Taíno sculpture of what appears to be a hummingbird man. (5) A Victorian woman wearing a hat with stuffed hummingbirds attached to it. (6) Gigantic image of a hummingbird from the famous Nazca of the Pampa region of Peru, South America. This etching is one of 300 large linear earthwork designs created between 200 BC and 600 AD. The images were made by scraping away the top layer of iron-oxide coated surface pebbles to reveal the lighter color underneath in order to create drawings that are only recognizable from the sky. (Nazca Lines and Culture, http://www.crystalinks.com/nazca.html).
(7) Hummingbird Magic for attracting the opposite sex. Like Polvo de Chuparrosa or "powdered hummingbird " this is an image of a premixed cologne or perfume, one of the items along with votive candles and amulets, sold in Mexico and South America.
Colibrí /ko-lee-bré/ n. 1. Taíno name for a small brightly colored bird of the Caribbean, North, Central, and South America that can beat its wings rapidly, making a zum-zum or humming sound. 2. the Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch (kolibrie) words for hummingbird originating from the Taíno language. Family: Trochilidae 3. also Zum Zum, (from Cuban Taíno) apparently from the sound made by the bird’s wings while in flight.
4. Called the hummingbird in English
Hummingbird /húming bird/ n 1. an English word which is derived from the humming sound made by the bird’s rapidly beating wings. 2.the tiny hovering bird called colibrí by the Taíno.
3. a small jewel colored bird found only in the Americas related to swifts and having narrow fast beating wings, a long slender bill, and extended tubular tongue for drinking nectar. 4.also called a “hummer” by some American bird lovers.
The Jamaican national bird is the specie Trochilus polytmus which is the unique Streamtailed hummingbird called a doctorbird. One Jamaican folk song warns (6)"Doctor bud a cunny bud, a hard bud fi dead”. A similar belief by the Mexica (Me-shee-ka) (Aztecs) was that (7)Huitzilopochtli (Whits-ill-low-poach-lee), the warrior sun-god, was associated with the hummingbird. They believed that four years after dying in battle, or as a sacrifice, the spirit of the warriors left the brilliant retinue of the sun god to forever live in the bodies of hummingbirds. Therefore, hummingbirds were placed on the graves of their warriors.
This association with warriors reflects the ferocious spirit of the hummingbird who will attack an intruding hawk or a human. The added solitary habit of this territorial bird is also identified with Huitzilopochtli, the Mexica sun god. The first part of this Mexica god’s name Huetzilin means hummingbird and he is sometimes depicted as this bird. The second half of his name means “from the deep south” or the spirit world. In his nahuat (spiritual) disguise he also appears as an eagle. He is the sun, a relentless warrior-god who each morning rises in the east to subdue those siblings (his sister the moon and his brothers the stars) who had plotted his death while he was still in his mother’s womb. He was born fully grown and vanquishes them each day. Among the Maya there is also a god who is in the form of a hummingbird.
There are many books and Web sites on the Internet with stories and information on hummingbirds.
Click on to the link to see a satellite view of the Nazca hummingbird image as compared to the Empire State Building. http://agutie.homestead.com/FiLEs/incas/nazca_hummingbird_1.htm
1. The word colibri was also adopted in other non-American languages.
2. The Birds of Jamaica, Frank Bernal O.D., p. 64
3. A powdered snuff-like hallucionogen used by the Taino shaman and cacique (chief) to transport them to a separate spiritual reality.
4. Religious Taino objects made in various liknesses of spiritual beings and made from materials such as stone, wood, cotton, shell, bone, etc.
5. A 19th century spelling of Arawak, the term used in the English-speaking Caribbean to refer to the Taino. From 1847, Geosse, p. 89, Dictionary of Jamican English, Cassidy and Le Page, p. 152
6. "Doctor bird is a cunning bird, a hard bird to die."
7. Huitzilopochtli (from Nahuat huitzin, "hummingbird", and opochili," left" or "south"