How do humming birds hover?

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Hummingbirds are the acrobats or stunt fliers of the bird kingdom! They have developed the most amazing powers of flight. They can fly straight up and down, forwads, sideways and backwards, and hover in a stationary position in front of a flower, while probing it with their beaks. To be as manoeuvrable as this in the air, the hummingbird's wings have to beat at a very high speed. A definite hum is produced as these beautiful birds dart from flower to flower sipping sugary nectar, and their wings disappear into a faint blur. The secret of the hovering flight lies in the attachment of the hummingbird's wings to its shoulder. This is a swivel joint,and insted of beating up and down, the wings swivel round to beat backwards and forwards in a figure of eight motion. At each stroke, forwards and backwards air is forced down-wards so that the hummingbird is able to 'hung' in the air. Hummingbirds use up an enormous amount of energy in the high-powered flight, and so, have to continually feed on nectar rich in energy-giving sugars and insects.


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