Hummingbirds   2 comments

The Aztecs believed that warriors who died in battle would be reincarnated as…hummingbirds? Say what?!? Yep, you read that right. The Aztecs knew something that most modern people don’t: ounce-for-ounce, a tiny bird that weighs less than a nickel may be the fiercest animal on earth. Here’s a simple way to look at it: hummingbirds need a lot of fuel to survive. And we mean a lot. Every day hummingbirds eat about half of their body weigh in sugar. If you’re a 200-pound man, that roughly amounts to you drinking 1,100 cans of Coca-Cola each and every day!

This means that hummers are constantly on the lookout for food – and they get very defensive about their territories – so much so that they’ve been documented chasing away birds much larger than themselves – jays, crows, hawks, even bald eagles! The Aztecs so highly valued the bravery and prowess of the hummingbird that their high priests regularly cut the hearts out of their captured enemies and slaves as a sacrifice to the hummingbird god. Aztec kings wore ceremonial cloaks made entirely from hummingbird skins. It took up to 8,000 skins to make a single cloak! And just think, all you need to lure these war gods to your backyard is a feeder full of sugar water!

Hat tip to Jason Bittel, whose article “Hummingbirds Are Fierce, Deadly Gods of War” in Slate Magazine inspired this post. Check it out for a more in-depth look into these amazing birds: http://slate.me/1MDhNHr.

Tweeted by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Mountain-Prarie Region, 2/19/17.

Posted May 8, 2017 by henrymowry in Photography

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2 responses to “Hummingbirds

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  1. I learn so many cool things from you, Henry. My cousin married an extremely wise & interesting man. Still waiting for hummers to show up at my Texas feeder. Missing my Shiloh, IL “regulars.”

    • Thanks, cuz! Perhaps Ferris Buehler said it best: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

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