As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Hummingbirds' backward flight is efficient

The mechanisms behind the effortless way that hummingbirds fly backwards have been revealed in a recent study.

Although hummingbirds routinely fly backwards, it has never before been scientifically described in detail.

University of California scientists Dr Nir Sapir and Robert Dudley, recorded the birds' flight biomechanics using high-speed cameras and oxygen uptake.

They found that hummingbirds' backward flight uses similar amounts of energy to flying forwards.

The results are published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
Backward flight is frequently used by members of the hummingbird family as they reverse from a nectar-bearing flower after feeding.

Dr Sapir noticed this while observing hummingbirds on a feeder.

Read on: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/19731176

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