Monday, April 2, 2012

Newly Discovered Fact on Hummingbirds

From National Wildlife Federation

Hummingbirds get their name from the sound produced by their rapidly beating wings, but another sound wins the hearts of female hummingbirds.

© Donna L. Watkins - Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
A new study that focused on 14 hummingbird species reports that at high velocity, different tail-feather designs give off different sounds. Males make these sounds during high-speed courtship flights put on to attract females.

In some species, only a single tail feather produced the alluring notes, while in others all tail feathers chorused together. The Anna’s hummingbird, a common species of the U.S. Pacific Coast and Southwest, produced a sound that could be heard across the length of one and a half football fields.

The vibrations are species specific and may even provide females with clues about the fitness of individual males, says Christopher Clark, a biomechanics expert who conducted the study with colleagues from Yale and the University of California–Berkeley. “I know that in many species, the faster the male goes, the louder the sound,” he says. “So the feather sounds might indicate how good, which is to say how fast, a male is diving.”

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1 comment:

Lee said...

Very interesting!

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