One of the most alluring qualities of hummingbirds is their incredibly fast pace. If you weren’t aware, hummingbirds are some of the most freakishly athletic beings on Earth. Their wings often beat up to 200 times per minute and they consume almost half their body weight in nectar each day.
For years, photographers and filmmakers have agonized over how to catch the barely perceptible movements of this bird species in photos or on film. In this PBS documentary, “Hummingbirds, Magic in the Air,” director Ann Johnson-Prum utilized a “phantom camera” to film hummingbirds at 200-500 frames a second. The result is an up close and intimate portrait of the lives of hummingbirds, in which you can watch them doing everything from dueling over nectar to mating. “Once we slowed down the hummingbird’s world, we could really see what it was up to,” said Johnson-Prum.If you’re considering putting a hummingbird feeder in your backyard, this is a great video to check out. You’ll likely never be able to see these amazing birds interact with such clarity anywhere else.
Check out this preview below or watch the whole video on the Magic in the Air website. Besides the film, there are also interactive maps of hummingbird locales and a bunch of other cool features.