Bee-eaters These European bee-eaters are often depicted like this, in pairs or small groups, huddled close.They live up to their name: they do eat bees. They catch them in flight, and if you are sitting still on a bench on a hill, contemplating the horizon, the frenzied swooping can be quite a contrast to the stillness you are seeking. It is a joyful contrast though, this bright blur that enters your awareness.

They don’t eat the bee’s stinger. I am reminded of poison dart frogs, who are only poisonous because of the poisonous bugs they eat. Bee-eaters don’t eat the poisonous parts, so they are unpoisonous themselves. During courtship, the males will present their potential partners with their largest catches. Only the males are described as monogamous; and then only sometimes. Both parents feed the young, and they will care for other youngsters too as the need arises.

Although they eat bees, it is interesting to note that when there are bee-eaters nesting close to a beehive, those bees will forage more and not less (as beekeepers believe).
So those are the facts. As a symbol they embody joyful industry (delighted diligence or delightegence) and (is there a word for this?) the village that they are always talking about with regards to raising children. They remind us that it is possible to remove the poisonous sting from something and what remains is nutritious and maybe even delicious.
I’m not saying you should try to eat a bee. Birds have very different tastebuds and digestive sytems from humans
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