In these cold winter months, it is important to have a positive mindset. Many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder, and the lack of sunshine can really take its toll. Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to bring a person out of the winter doldrums. Being a bird lover, I often think about things from the perspective of the winged creatures. This may seem a bit weird, but can bring about some interesting enlightenments.
(photo by Michael Hogan, posted on Cornell website)
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about hummingbirds and how thinking like them could improve our lives. Here are some reasons why.
Cleanliness and Confidence
Hummingbirds are meticulously clean to the point that if they were human, they would probably all be considered OCD. This is important for them because diseases spread amongst birds very easily. Cleaning themselves after feeding and bathing in commonly visited areas is a means of self-preservation. Good hygiene keeps them alive.
Perhaps because they are so clean and good looking, hummingbirds are also extremely confident. They defend their territory mercilessly. They mate by puffing out their chests and making wild displays. Hummingbirds know what they want and what is theirs and they fight for it.
Though hygiene may not be as much of a life or death issue for humans, it is still important. By maintaining healthy habits, you ensure that you stay healthy. When you’re healthy you’re usually happier. You also look better, which is an automatic confidence booster. It is important to exude confidence (but perhaps not to the hummingbird level of cockiness), and protect what is important to you.
Hummingbirds know where they’ve gotten food in the past, how long it takes flowers to refill and who is responsible for filling hummingbird feeders They are not only observant, but they keep that information for future use.
Intentionally committing useful information to memory can save a lot of time in our daily lives. As someone who gets lost regularly, I’ve been surprised how much of my “directionally challenged-ness” can be solved by paying attention to landmarks, directions, and using a map. This encourages me to remember how to get somewhere rather than just following directions by rote, which usually results in me getting lost the next time I try to find a place.
Fight for What Matters
As mentioned previously, hummingbirds are very territorial. They don’t allow themselves to be taken advantage of. Hummingbirds are very friendly, unless threatened. Likewise, be agreeable, but not a doormat. Stand up for your rights and your possessions. This assertiveness will earn you respect and a sense of security.
Make the most of your sleep
Hummingbirds are smart even with they sleep. They are able to reduce their metabolic rate and enter a deep sleep. In this state, they burn very little energy and can keep their body temperature at a near-hypothermic state. This allows them to save energy for the days, as well as survive in low temperatures.
It is important to maximize your sleep. It is proven that different people get maximum from sleep at different types. Most people benefit more from hours of sleep before midnight, though some people’s cycles are different. It is also important to prepare for sleep efficiently, by allowing yourself to wind down and minimize electronic contact before bed. It is also important to eliminate as many lights and sounds from your bedroom. This allows you to get the most benefit from your sleep and conserve energy for the next day.
Hummingbirds are known to be smart and beautiful creatures. They are respected by their fellow creatures and by humans. By taking their example, you can do a lot to improve your life. Are there other animals that you feel like you can learn from in daily life?
Submitted by Ernie Allison. Ernie loves nature and more specifically, he loves birds and wants to teach others how to appreciate them, too. In the winter, Ernie participates in several citizen science projects, mostly focusing on hummingbird migration patterns.
February Blog – Pine Island Trip Report
Our chapter’s first field trip to the North Carolina Outer Banks was a great success. Thirty-seven chapter members and friends attended the January 4-6th trip. The main building at the Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary is an old hunting lodge. Several participants stayed at the lodge and enjoyed the rustic but comfortable setting. Others stayed at a hotel across the street and drove over to the lodge for the Friday evening wine and cheese social (thanks to all who contributed food and drink). Saturday morning we again met at the lodge to hear about the history of the Pine Island Sanctuary property and about Audubon’s plans for modest upgrades to the lodge, parking and trails. The property will be a place for research and education focusing on the birds of the marsh.
A coyote loped across the lawn, ending our talk of plans for the lodge and sending us outside. We walked down to the marsh where Kingfishers and Great Blue Herons watched the serene beauty of the winter marsh landscape. After a short tour to the rest of the sanctuary we headed south to explore Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, the Bodie Island Lighthouse and adjacent pond, the Bonner Bridge area and the ocean, via the beach and pier.
A group went to the Pocosin Lakes Wildlife Refuge to view the Snow Geese and Tundra Swans coming in from their day of foraging in neighboring fields. On Sunday, some folks stopped at Lake Mattamuskeet. A great variety of ducks, thousands of Tundra Swans, an American Bittern, and White-crowned Night Herons were the highlights. Here is a list of the birds seen on Saturday.
Duck, American Black
Sandpiper, Purple (Oregon Inlet)
Gull, Great Black-backed
Pigeon (Dove, Rock)
Thanks to Bob Oberfelder, one of our Wake Audubon trip participants, for sharing some of his photographs. To view more of his photographs from this trip, see the Wake Audubon Meet-up site, past trips.
Gerry Luginbuhl, President, Wake Audubon Society