Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hummingbirds are champions

image credit: Peasap
Are you intimidated? Do you recoil from your screen, driven back by the baking furnace of a thousand suns that is this creature's pure and unadulterated awesomeness?

Well you should, and here's why.

The ruby throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris), is probably the only kind you've ever seen if you live in the eastern half of the U.S. Don't feel left out though, because that's like saying the only person you've ever seen is Chuck Norris.

Twice a year this tiny fluff of feather and bone participates in a marathon that boggles the mind. Basically, in order to migrate back and forth between their homes here and their party shacks down in Mexico, they take the shortest route you could imagine.

                                                        They Just Go Straight

That's right, after fattening up to a hefty 6 grams, they fly straight across the Gulf of Mexico, most often with no stops.

That's around 400 miles.

That's around 20 hours of hauling tailfeathers, roasting across the open water; often into a twenty mile per hour headwind.
image credit: Daniel E Bruce

Good, its safer that way. Just imagine what would happen if this little beast decided you weren't giving him enough respect.

Maybe drag you 400 miles?

Give hummingbirds the respect they deserve, and pray you never find out.

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