Cover image for The world of the hummingbird
The world of the hummingbird
Thurston, Harry, 1950-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Nature of hummingbirds
Publication Information:
San Francisco, Calif. : Sierra Club Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiv, 112 pages : color illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL696.A558 T48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Celebrated for their dazzling colors, hummingbirds are also a wonder because of their diminutive size. Award-winning writer and poet Harry Thurston describes in colorful detail the consequences of the hummingbird's size and its constant fight for survival. Because they are so small, hummingbirds have a very high rate of metabolism -- the highest ever measured in an animal. As a result, they live on the edge between starvation and vigor and must constantly feed to meet their energy needs. They must compete with other species for precious feeding territories and are constantly in threat of species that prey upon them. Despite these many challenges, most hummingbirds live a relatively long life.

The World of the Hummingbird also examines the role of hummingbirds in Native cosmology. According to Arawak legend, for example, the hummingbirds first brought tobacco to the Arawak people, and one of the most powerful Aztec gods was said to have been conceived from a ball of hummingbirds feathers thatfell from the sky. Today, hummingbird populations are thriving, but in some areas their natural habitat is being lost as a result of human activities.

Harry Thurston's lyrical and informative text supports a stunning collection of photographs depicting hummingbirds in hovering flight, sipping nectar from colorful flowers, and feeding their young in their delicate nests. Together, text and photos offer a fascinating look at this feathered jewel.