Surely it took its fire-green hue
From day-breaks that it glittered through;
Quick, for this sparkle of the dawn
Glints through the garden and is gone.
~Edwin Markham (1852–1940), “The Humming Bird”
Have you ever observed a humming-bird moving about in an aërial dance among the flowers — a living prismatic gem that changes its colour with every change of position… it is a creature of such fairy-like loveliness as to mock all description. ~W. H. Hudson, Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest, 1916
Or winglet of the fairy humming-bird,
Like atoms of the rainbow fluttering round…
~Thomas Campbell, “Gertrude of Wyoming,” 1809
No class of artists excels the humming-birds. Their nests are wonders of beauty, delicacy, and architecture — plant down and dried flower petals held together with silvery spider’s web, exquisitely decorated with greyish-white lichens. ~Royal Dixon, “Feathered Artists,” The Human Side of Birds, 1917
So sweet, so sweet the roses in their blowing,
So sweet the daffodils, so fair to see;
So blithe and gay the humming-bird a-going
From flower to flower, a-hunting with the bee.
~Nora Perry (1831–1896), “In June”
And from Humming-Bird to Eagle, the daily existence of every bird is a remote and bewitching mystery. ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, “The Life of Birds,” Out-door Papers, 1868
The humming-bird! the humming-bird!
So fairy-like and bright;
It lives among the sunny flowers,
A creature of delight!
All crimson is her shining breast,
Like to the red, red rose;
Her wing is the changeful green and blue
That the neck of the peacock shows…
A reign of summer joyfulness
To thee for life is given;
Thy food, the honey from the flower,
Thy drink, the dew from heaven!
~Mary Howitt (1799–1888), “The Humming-Bird”
Hidden in the leafy covert was the daintiest nest ever seen, made of soft cotton from the pussy willows by the brook, interwoven with the finest grasses and green mosses, and embroidered with one shining golden thread. And there was wee mother humming-bird and two tiny eggs, lying in a downy hollow like a thimble. ~Flora Haines Loughead, The Abandoned Claim, 1891
He had come to the conclusion that bags of gold were most plentiful in fairy stories, and that giants and fairies and all such delightful people were as hard to find as a humming-bird’s nest. ~Sophie Swett, “The Horse That Did N’t Eat His Head Off,” 1894
A smile and a tear,
In the spring of the year,
A smile for the summer that’s coming;
With bird trills and flowers,
And long, sunny hours,
And music of wings softly humming…
~William Zachary Gladwin, “April,” 1892
A hummingbird on the wing is far more attractive than one who is perched… Hanging in midair with wings beating so fast they are almost invisible, and with the sun glinting from the iridescent green of its back, it is a thing of beauty and glamor. It can fly forward or backward, balancing with steady flips of its tiny tail, and raising its head between drinks to stare around. Perched on a wire, it is just a dumpy little bird with a long bill… ~Gerald Raftery (1905–1986), “It Takes a Tinkering Brewer To Bartend for Hummingbirds,” 1969