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C r e a t i o n  I n d e x

C r e a t i o n  p a g e  6 3 b


hummingbirdHummingbirds: Relative to their size, Hummingbirds have the largest flight muscles of any bird; up to 30% of their total weight.

Their wings are anchored to a specialized keel shaped sternum and formed in a way which allows them to rotate in a figure eight pattern, one reason they beat their wings up to 78 times a second. 

"As the wing sweeps toward the front, the leading edge rotates forward for lift on the down stroke. Then as the wing sweeps to the rear, the leading edge rotates back for lift on the upstroke too.

"Other birds, with their up and down flapping, get only lift on the down stroke. But the Hummingbird's unusual flexibility enables it to hover, back away on the wing, even fly nearly upside down. They can outmaneuver hawks and other birds a hundred times their size, driving them off in the process.

"Hummingbirds get from Mexico to Alaska and back, remembering the flower patches and feeders enroute.

"All that memory in a brain case as big as Abe Lincoln's head on an American penny." ...Bill Calder, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Gothic, Colorado.

To keep itself alive a Hummingbird must get 7 to 12 calories a day and that's the equivalent of a 180 pound human scrounging up 204,000 calories a day or about 171 pounds of hamburger. It must drink twice its weight in nectar daily, finding as many as 1000 flowers with nectar to drink.

A hummingbird breathes some 250 times a minute.
   They have twice as much heart as might be expected for a bird this size. In addition, they have a much more dense concentration of red cells for storage of oxygen.

Unlike other birds, they rotate their wings in a figure eight pattern. They are able to accommodate this unusual pattern of wing motion due to the design of their exceptionally flexible shoulder joints. 

When a Hummingbird hovers, its wings horizontally flap. Other birds wings flap up and down. 
   In flight its wings angle frontwards. It knows how to do all that because it's designed that way.

Hummingbirds' noses pick up strange 'tag alongs'!
   "When they court, they shoot straight up 60 feet and back down in a power dive giving off a metallic.trill as urgent as a bicycle bell."....Smithsonian, September, 2000.

A Hummingbird's heart beats some 1,200 times a minute in flight and his wings beat at a minimum of 2,280 revolutions per minute, some much higher.

The female.only.can reduce her temperature by half.
   In torpor she can reduce her metabolism 2 to 3 times for every 10 degree drop in temperature.

How does she know to regurgitate her food for her nestlings?

A Hummingbird's tongue is anatomically.unorthodox. Its tongue is either hinged to muscles that run back around the spinal cord, or in others, the tongue is fringed along the outer edge and yet in others, the tongue ends in two trough like channels with which the bird draws up nectar, not by sucking but by capillary action as the tongue flicks in and out.

The hummingbird beats its wings 80 times a second and can travel up to 30 miles per hour. Its wings axially rotate at 180 degrees thanks to a supple shoulder joint. They can cross 600 miles in 20 hours. It is properly designed for its incredible flying abilities with a big keel and breastbone and powerful flight muscles. Tapered wings are attached to short arm bones with rigid elbow and wrist joints. It can hover with its body in a vertical position. Its wings move in a figure eight pattern, a type of motion that provides lift without propulsion.

They grow about 5 inches in length and weigh about 1/3 ounce (8.4 grams). They migrate in winter to equatorial countries. They take in nectar with a sucrose concentration of 15-30% and avoid nectar with less than 12% sucrose. They know how to do this as it is programmed into them exactly what to have an affinity for.
 


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