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Raindrop Keeps Falling on a Hummingbird’s Head

Image: Victor M. Ortega

Raindrops keep falling on its head
And the hummingbird whose body seems too small to survive
Nothin’ seems to matter
Those raindrops are fallin’ on its head, they keep flyin’

With apologies to B.J. Thomas by way of intro, today’s news bite alerts
us that hummingbirds can keep flying under light, moderate, and even
heavy rain:

These minute birds — which use their amazing hovering skills
to harvest nectar — have to feed almost daily or they will perish.
Given that they inhabit regions that are not exactly arid, they are
almost certain to be forced to fly in the rain at some point.

Armed with five Anna’s Hummingbirds (Calypte anna), a garden
water-gun and a laboratory, Victor Ortega-Jimenez and Robert Dudley
of the University of California, Berkeley, aimed to work out just how
much it cost the birds to do so. [...]

“We demonstrated that hummingbirds can deal very well in
light-to-moderate precipitation, practically without costs,” says
Ortega-Jimenez. “But, even in heavy rain, despite the evident
postural and wing kinematic changes produced by drop impacts and plumage
wettability, these tiny birds can maintain flight control.”

Daniel Cressey of Nature’s News Blog has the post and video clip: Link

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