I have yet to meet a person who didn’t like hummingbirds or to sit and watch them as they feed in the flower garden or bird feeders.  Their ability to hover in midair and in every direction possible including backwards is far beyond any other bird.

They can also accelerate and disappear in the blink of an eye reaching speeds up to 34 miles per hour with the Green Violet-ear hummingbird being clocked at 93 miles per hour.

Depending on the size of the hummingbird, they beat their wings anywhere from 10 to 100 beats per second and their heart rates have measured as fast as 1280 beats per minute.

But there’s one thing about hummingbirds that have baffled scientists until now and that is how do they stay dry in rainy climates.

So researchers from the University of California at Berkeley set out to discover the answer.  They used ultra hi-tech slow motion cameras to film a hummingbird feeding at a feeder while sprinkling it with water.  When they examined the footage, they discovered that the hummingbird shook its head back and forth fast enough to throw off any water, keeping the head dry.

Their heads just didn’t shake back and forth; they covered 180 degrees side-to-side in only a tenth of a second.  The incredible speed and distance covered in the head shaking results in g-forces up to 34.  Most people will lose consciousness at a g-force of 5, yet experiencing g-forces as high as 34 doesn’t seem to slow the hummingbird down at all.

In addition to the extreme g-forces experienced in the head shaking, the researchers discovered that the head shaking had little effect on the ability of the hummingbird to navigate.  Birds are visual flyers and rely on their eyesight to avoid flying into obstacles, yet the hummingbirds can still navigate while rapidly shaking their heads back and forth.

It seems that every time scientists study hummingbirds, they learn something new that completely surprises them.  With every surprise, we see just how specially and wonderfully designed hummingbirds are.  They have so much to tell us about our marvelous Creator God, and all we have to do is just ask them.

But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.  Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?  In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.  Job 12:7-10.

Reference

Hummingbirds Shake Their Heads To Stay Dry, Red Orbit, Nov. 10, 2011.

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