Hummingbirds “Fall” In Love

     The following short article from last week’s The Week  magazine reveals some incredible tricks the male hummingbird uses to impress females!–April Moore

Look, sweetie, I’m falling

When it comes to love, a hummingbird falls hard and fast—so fast it is buffeted with more G-forces than a landing space shuttle.

To impress females, males of the Anna’s hummingbird species dive toward the ground at 90 feet per second, or nearly 400 times their body length per second. Then they quickly pull up and bullet skyward, multiplying by 10 the gravitational pull of the earth—a G-force that would knock out human fighter pilots. If hummingbirds weren’t built so strong for their tiny size, Chris Clark, a biologist at the University of California at Berkeley, tells Science News, “their wings would just break off” during the maneuver.

And it’s all driven by the mating game. When Clark sat female hummingbirds in a nearby cage, the males typically performed this showy stunt up to 15 times in a row. Yet they always oriented their dives so that the sun reflected brightly off their feathers, Clark says. “They look like a little magenta fireball dropping out of the sky.”

3 Responses to “Hummingbirds “Fall” In Love”

  1. Diane Says:

    The lengths they will go to craft a successful pick up line! Makes me think of human pilot aerial stunts. I wonder if in human behavior it serves a similar purpose: to display male prowess and impress the females. But we now have female airplane pilots, so maybe not.

  2. Joan Brundage Says:

    The male hummers also make a high pitched cry as they dive. We’ve heard this as they dive.

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    What Mother Nature won’t do to ensure survival of the species! Thanks for this delightful and interesting information. I’m sending it to my favorite hummingbird lovers: my mother and my daughter.

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