Tiny Flying Acrobats
can zip backward, forward, sideways, and upside
down. It can even hover in mid-air to sip nectar from flowers and feeders.
What is its secret?
Unlike other birds, a hummingbird's
wings attach to the body only at its shoulder joints. This adaptation enables
a hummer to rotate its wings 180 degrees and move them in all directions.
Strong flight muscles are attached to the breastbone. A hummingbird can hover in mid-air, because
its upstroke muscles are as strong as its downstoke
muscles. When it hovers, the hummer is turning its wings over
and back in a figure eight patten.
Did you know that a hummingbird flies with its hands? A short,
thick upper bone, called a humerus, supports its large
primary feathers and enables the hummer to quickly move its wings without bending
them. In flight, the wings beat about 75 beats per second and sound like humming!
A hummingbird's tail feathers help it balance, take-off, stop, and
Photo: Martin Dollenkamp
Move Like a Hummer!
your hands out to the side, palms down. Create a "figure
8" movement: bring your hand forward and then up as you
turn your palms up. Let your thumbs lead the way. As your
hands go back, down and around, you'll be back where you started.
Imagine doing this 50 to 80 times a second.
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