Analyzing a Hovering Hummingbird

June 22nd, 2005 | Filed under: Biology, Mapping, News, Technology | No Comments »

“We looked at hummingbird flight for 70 years with high speed cameras, but still could only make assumptions and educated guesses about what was happening,” said Douglas Warrick, an assistant professor of zoology at OSU. Scientists from Oregon State University, the University of Portland and George Fox University used digital particle imaging velocimetry (PIV) to capture the subtleties in the movement of air surrounding the hummingbird’s wings to discover exactly how they manage to hover. [article]

via Nature | Physorg

“What the hummingbird has done is take the body and most of the limitations of the bird, but tweaked it a little and used some of the aerodynamic tricks of an insect to gain a hovering ability,” Warrick said. “They make use of what is, in other birds, an aerodynamically wasted upstroke. Coupled with taking advantage of leading edge vortices – which you can only produce to substantial effect if you’re small – and voila, you’re hovering for as long as you want.”

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