The Curious Case Of Hummingbirds.

June 11, 2018
Is it a bird? Is it plane? Yes, it's a hummingbird! Sorry, Superman. Well, apart from the fact that it's the smallest bird, there are other traits which makes the hummingbird a sort of a superhero. Here are some facts to validate my claim, after going through which, we can all bow down before these tiny bird-heroes.

1 ) Conqueror of the sky: Well, this tiny bird can fly backwards, side-to-side, hover in place like a helicopter, and even fly upside down! Are the hummingbirds even from this planet? Well, their acrobatic skills can be attributed to their strong flight muscles, which also allows them to flap their wings 8-200 times per second! Do we really need The Flash, when we have these hummingbirds?

2) Eat, repeat: These little birds eat a lot. 'A lot' is not an exaggeration, it actually has a very fast metabolism, as the constant aerial stunts drains most of their energy. Their metabolism is actually a 100 times faster than an elephant's, which explains why they need to eat after every 15-20 minutes!

3) Dinner? No, thanks!: The fact that the activities of these birds are limited to the daytime, also means that their food intake is arranged to meet this natural cycle. The ravenous intake of food, therefore, is only possible during the day, and this happens just right after the sun rises.

4) Colour, colour!: While hummingbirds are deprived of a decent sense of smell, they make up for it with their excellent eyesight. They can perceive almost each and every colour we humans are accustomed to seeing, as well as ultraviolet light! Now that's something.

5) Jetlag, seriously?: Hummingbirds migrate, well most of them, and the remarkable thing is that, they can cover great distances in a single flight! For instance, the ruby-throated hummingbird can actually fly over 3000 km from Eastern USA to the Gulf of Mexico, and they do this without stopping!

6) Let's hibernate!: To save energy, the hummingbird engages in an activity called torpor. It involves the reducing of the body temperature, and go into a hibernation mode. It's a state characterised by physical inactivity, and the body temperatures can go as low as 40-80 degree.

7) Tongue-tales: The tongue of the hummingbirds were long assumed to be, well, normal. It was only recently discovered to be forked, and what is amazing is that it can trap nectar!

8) Leg-it bad walkers: Despite its strong flight game, and a forked tongue, or powerful eyesight, hummingbirds are actually really bad at walking. But, we can excuse them for this right? Their days are spent lording over the skies, why do these guys need to walk like us mere humans?!

The hummingbirds are so much more than these facts. And the fact that there are around 338 known species, only makes the future possibilities of stumbling upon remarkable tidbits a bit stronger.

Post Written by - Lopamudra

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