Exclusive to the Western Hemisphere, Hummingbird is an agile feminine bird known for grace, beauty, love and joy. Hummingbirds can hover in the air without seeming to fly, but have swift movement and are quick to respond to danger. Hummingbirds are affiliated with emotional healing, and are seen as a good omen if one appears during a time of strife or sorrow. Fragile and sensitive to her surroundings, Hummingbirds are a reminder of the delicate nature of life.
Hummingbirds are generally depicted with tiny, fragile bodies, long slender beaks, and either a single or cluster of flowers. Hummingbird is sometimes illustrated with curled appendages similar to that of Thunderbird, though more delicate. That said, it is impossible to mistake Hummingbird for Thunderbird, due to the obvious differences between their beaks.
Cheryl Shearar Understanding Northwest Coast Art (2000)
Conversations with various artists