I do wonder if Hummingbirds experience of reality is slower than us because everything about them is so much faster.
Their hearts are quite incredible. If you tried to measure its heart rate, it probably wouldn’t register on a traditional heart rate machine as their heart rate can easily hover around 1250 beats per minute, while they breathe 250 times per minute.
And that heart rate isn’t without reason. Their muscles use ten times the amount of oxygen (per unit) than an Olympic athlete does. (Source: Body temperatures, heart and breathing rate, and evaporative water loss in hummingbirds. Lasiewski, Robert)
Interestingly, their body is able to rapidly convert the liquid that it drinks into fuel for their wings. It’s quite like in-flight refueling that airplanes do. Their digestive track has quickly adapted to their rapid energy consumption, able to make sugar almost completely able to sustain their muscles. Within 30 minutes of consuming, their food can be in their muscles and put to work.
Their wings also have perfect accuracy and balance. Scientists have tested them in labs, blasting wind at them in different directions. The hummingbird can maintain a perfect head position at a feeder. (Source: Hummingbird flight stability and control in free stream turbulent winds. Crall, Ravi)
Here is an example from Dr. Ravi’s study, this is a hummingbird feeding in a turbulent wind tunnel, with scientists looking on. Note how his body gets more and more stable as your eyes go from his torso to the tip of his beak.
That isn’t by luck. Everything is to ensure the tip of his beak maintains perfect stability to get nectar from the flowers without damaging them.
A hummingbird’s least impressive body part is their legs, which they can’t actually walk with. They are the equivalent of stumps as their bodies have been optimized for precision, low altitude flying.
But outside of that—everything about hummingbirds is super badass, particularly their hearts, muscles, and digestive organs.
Hummingbirds are underrated.
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