It’s hard to look at a hummingbird and not admire their existence. These tiny birds somehow move with lightning speed and precision while innocuously meandering from flower to flower. However, there are many mysterious things about how hummingbirds act in natural and the types of things their tiny bodies can accomplish. So, here are 3 amazing things about hummingbirds you probably didn’t know.
It’s not secret that hummingbirds fly through the rain and many other weather conditions without much hassle, but for years, researchers had no idea how they dealt with the rain. According to NPR, researchers at UC Berkeley recently set out to find the answer and found that hummingbirds do something surprisingly similar to dogs. They whip their head around like wet dogs in order to get all the water off.
However, if you think you could watch this behavior while they’re at your hummingbird feeder, think again. Researchers slowed down footage of them and found they completely this act in .01 second. When they whip their head and body, it can reach a G-force of 34. Keep in mind that’s 5 times more force than Formula 1 racing cars, which typically only reach 6 on a good day. According to NPR, scientists might use this to develop micro air vehicles or improve the spin cycle on washing machines.
Hummingbirds can fly faster than jets
Again, researchers at Berkeley a few years ago used high-tech cameras to capture how fast hummingbirds go when they swoop down to impress females. According to the BBC, the researcher found a hummingbird can go nearly 400 body lengths per second. Here’s a translation:
When measured relative to the length of their bodies, the birds’ top speed, he said, was “greater than [that] of a fighter jet with its afterburners on, or the space shuttle during atmospheric re-entry”.
Everyone know hummingbirds can go amazing speeds, but it’s hard to quantify their speed relative to their body. We figure they’re small so they should go fast, but their speeds are among the fastest of a living organism. Simply astounding what some birds (or any species for that matter) will do to impress a mate.
Hummingbirds can chirp with their tails
The same researcher found while watching a hummingbird swoop that the chirping noise they make actually comes from their tails. According to the National Geographic, male Anna’s hummingbirds were seen flaring out their tail at the exact moment they supposedly chirped. Most birds chirp from their throat, but hummingbirds seem to do it from their tail.
So, how is this possible? Well, since hummingbirds can go so fast, they make their tails vibrate in a fashion similar to the reed on instruments. If you want to learn more and actually hear the chirping sound, check out this video.