Hummingbird Aerodynamics of Flight
Watch a Hummingbird in motion with eagle eyes because they will be gone before you know it. The design of their wings is very different from that of other types of birds. That is why they can move their wings so many times per second. It is also why they are able to fly straight, in reverse, upwards, downwards, and even upside down. All of this is really fascinating to the experts which is why they have done extensive research about their aerodynamic abilities.
We have more data today than ever before about Hummingbird aerodynamics. This is due to the fact that that there is special equipment now that can help to capture all of the details that go into their effortless movements. Then that information can be slowed down and viewed in segments to see the overall patterns of movement for the Hummingbird. The phenomenal movements of these birds is tremendous to look at normally. However, you will find a whole new appreciation for their anatomy once you see things in slowed down film segments.
What has been proven is that Hummingbird has the ability to simply hover for very long periods of time. It is believed this is to help make up for weak legs. They aren’t able to stand on their legs for long periods of time or to walk around on them like other species of birds can. Don’t let their small size fool you though as their wings are very strong and very well designed. They are able to compensate for the wind and other elements too that can create issues for smaller birds in flight.
What has been identified is that their aerodynamics is unbalanced when you compare it to other birds. For example other birds have half of their weight supported when their wings move up and then the other half supported when they move down. For the Hummingbird though they support ¾ of their body weight with an upward motion and only ¼ of it with the downward motion.
What is puzzling though is that experts would think such movements would make the Hummingbird look awkward and make moving difficult for them. That would be the hypothesis but when you see the evidence of how they move that is certainly discredited. The phenomenal value of that is what really impresses those that have carefully studied the movements of these birds.
Before such testing was completed experts knew that the Hummingbird had a different set up than other birds. However, they often thought that they simply had more of a flight design like insects than like birds. The evidence that has been found though indicates that their movements is very unique to them and them alone. They don’t replicate other birds or the movements of various types of insects.
If you get the chance to check out the various results from Hummingbird aerodynamics you should do so. There are several great videos online that show things in slower than normal speed. This allows you to be able to see all of the smaller movements that are too fast for the human eye to pick up on when you see a Hummingbird moving in real time.
It may interest you to learn that the Hummingbird movements in terms of the aerodynamics of flight have also been influential in the modern designs of helicopters. After the studies were completed about how these small birds move with such ease and precision that same type of thinking was then applied to the materials used and allocated for an effective type of helicopter that is safe, that is very mobile, and that has faster speed.