Air Velocity Surrounding A Flying Hummingbird Revealed Through Magic (Okay -- Science)

January 6, 2011


Ever wondered how a hummingbird pushes the air around while flying? Me neither. I've always been preoccupied with where my next drink is coming from and whether or not if you jump right before a plummeting elevator hits the ground if you'll survive. SPOILER: Nope (R.I.P. Dave).

As this rufous hummingbird hovers, laser-illuminated olive oil droplets show the resulting wake and yellow vectors reveal air velocity.

Uh, are you sure dousing a hummingbird in laser-illuminated olive oil was a good idea? I mean, from a culinary standpoint, absolutely, but it's gonna take a lot more than one to sate my appetite! 80,000-piece McHummers and an orange Hi-C, please! Just kidding. You guys do know I'm vegetarian, right?

Be sure to check out the New York Times article for a detailed article discussing the science of how birds fly.

Flying Machines, Amazing at Any Angle [newyorktimes]
Image of the Day: hummingbird in flight [dvice]

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