Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Hummer by Purple Flowers
Hummer by Purple Flowers / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 includes shipping
IN THE MIDDLE of the unpronounceable tropical storm, and in the midst of the even-stronger straight-line wind that blew through a few days later, hummingbirds showed up at the feeder.
How is it that a wind that can break giant limbs off ancient trees can't keep a hummingbird quiet?
I found an explanation of sorts from Science Daily, which described an experiment being conducted (this was 2010, so it's probably already done) at the Extreme Fluids Lab at Los Alamos National Lab.
Hummers' wings move in a sort of figure-eight pattern, so they get lift on the upstroke and the downstroke. Other birds' wings don't move this way. The figure-eight oscillation gives them a huge lift, and allows them to hover. And they adjust the angle of the wing-stroke constantly, to let them weave their way though huge winds.
But another article, from Backyard Wildlife Connection, said that scientists put hummers in a wind tunnel, and found that the little birds couldn't fly in wind stronger than 27 mph. But I saw them out there! Maybe they were flying just in the lulls between the big winds.
Here is a cool video about hummingbirds and the way they fly. You have to scroll down in the page a little to find it.
"By the way, did you fellows know that a hummingbird weighs as much as a quarter? Do you think a hummingbird also weighs the same as two dimes and a nickel? But then she asked a question of her own: How do they weigh a hummingbird?"
- Calvin Trillin
August 11, 2020
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