Raindrop Keeps Falling on a Hummingbird's Head


Image: Victor M. Ortega

Raindrops keep falling on its head
And the hummingbird whose body seems too small to survive
Nothin' seems to matter
Those raindrops are fallin' on its head, they keep flyin'

With apologies to B.J. Thomas by way of intro, today's news bite alerts us that hummingbirds can keep flying under light, moderate, and even heavy rain:

These minute birds — which use their amazing hovering skills to harvest nectar — have to feed almost daily or they will perish. Given that they inhabit regions that are not exactly arid, they are almost certain to be forced to fly in the rain at some point.

Armed with five Anna’s Hummingbirds (Calypte anna), a garden water-gun and a laboratory, Victor Ortega-Jimenez and Robert Dudley of the University of California, Berkeley, aimed to work out just how much it cost the birds to do so. [...]

“We demonstrated that hummingbirds can deal very well in light-to-moderate precipitation, practically without costs,” says Ortega-Jimenez. “But, even in heavy rain, despite the evident postural and wing kinematic changes produced by drop impacts and plumage wettability, these tiny birds can maintain flight control.”

Daniel Cressey of Nature's News Blog has the post and video clip: Link


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