National Butterfly and Hummingbird Day

Two small, but beautiful and colorful flying creatures share the spotlight on October 3. It may seem odd to celebrate them together in the same holiday, but besides being attractive, they are pollinators of flowers as they visit them and drink the nectar.

Hummingbirds are birds from the Americas that constitute the family Trochilidae. They are among the smallest of birds, most species measuring 7.5–13 cm (3–5 in) in length. Indeed, the smallest extant bird species is a hummingbird, the 5 cm (2.0 in) bee hummingbird weighing less than 2.0 g (0.07 oz). For nutrition, hummingbirds eat a variety of insects, including mosquitoes, fruit flies, and gnats in flight or aphids on leaves and spiders in their webs. They drink the nectar from flowers, but can be enticed by sugar water in a feeder, so their beauty can be enjoyed up close.

Habitat loss and destruction are the hummingbird’s main threats. As hummingbirds are often specially adapted to each unique habitat, each species of hummingbird currently listed as vulnerable or endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list.

Here are a few interesting facts about butterflies from the San Diego Zoo.

  • Butterflies taste with their feet.
  • A group of butterflies is sometimes called a flutter.
  • There are 165,000 known species of butterflies found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Butterflies vary in size – the largest species may reach 12 inches across, while the smallest may only be half an inch.
  • Scientists thought butterflies were deaf until the first butterfly ears were identified in 1912.

Butterfly populations are constantly in danger of disappearing. Habitat loss is one of the leading causes of species decline. Butterflies are essentially cold-blooded, and global warming is hurting them.

Today let us appreciate these beautiful but vulnerable creatures as they try to survive in this changing world.

Quotes about hummingbirds and about butterflies

A flash of harmless lightning,
A mist of rainbow dyes,
The burnished sunbeams brightening
From flower to flower he flies.
John B. Tabb

I always loved those little creatures [hummingbird], always feel blessed when they appear nearby. There’s a magical quality to them. I finally put one in a song.–Leonard Cohen

As long as the hummingbird had not abandoned the land, somewhere there were still flowers, and they could all go on.–Leslie Marmon Silko

Gentle day’s flower –
The hummingbird competes
With the stillness of the air.
Chogyam Trungpa

Across the downs a hummingbird
Came dipping through the bowers,
He pivoted on emptiness
To scrutinize the flowers.
Nathalia Crane

A day so happy. Fog lifted early. I worked in the garden. Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers. There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess. I know no one worth my envying him.–Czeslaw Milosz

Coming eyeball to eyeball with a hummingbird on my terrace is as exciting to me as any celebrity Ive met as a result of Downton Abbey.–Lesley Nicol

Farewell,’ she said. ‘I hope you hear many more songs’ – which was the best way she could think of to say good-bye to a butterfly.–Peter S. Beagle

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.–Maya Angelou

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.–Richard Bach

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.–Nathaniel Hawthorne

If nothing ever changed, there would be no such things as butterflies.–Wendy Mass

I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free.–Charles Dickens

Not quite birds, as they were not quite flowers, mysterious and fascinating as are all indeterminate creatures.–Elizabeth Goudge

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