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How would you react if a friend gave you a birthday present that weighed no more than a dime and was smaller than your finger? You probably wouldn’t expect much inside. A paperclip? A wadded-up sock?
But be careful not to turn up your nose at tiny packages. You might be surprised what’s crammed into small spaces!
Consider the hummingbird. You may have seen them zipping around your flower garden or perhaps even hovering near a bird feeder or window. Perhaps you’ve even drawn a picture of one because of its pretty colors. They aren’t just another pretty bird, though. They’re packed with huge designs in a tiny package.
Hummingbirds are the smallest birds on the planet, yet they can do things other birds can’t.
Those little wings beat up to 80 times a second. This allows the hummer to hover in the air, shoot backwards, and even flip upside down. They’re almost like a helicopter, but more nimble.
If other birds tried to hover, they’d fall to the ground. They just can’t produce enough power. The secret to hummingbird flight is the flexible motion of their wings. By making a figure 8 in the air, they can stay aloft with each flap.
Planes need more than sleek wings to navigate the skies. They need pilot controls and gauges. With all their twirling and flipping, hummingbirds need even better instruments than a plane to track where they are at all times.
And they’ve got it. Their tiny brains can do more than any man-made computer to keep them safe from crashing into obstacles, even in the thickest forests.
And the list of designs goes on and on. Their hearts beat 1200 times per minute to keep the oxygen flowing. And their long tongues have pumps that lap up sugary nectar 23 times per second to keep their engines fueled. Hummers may be small, but they’re mighty on design!