T.G.I.F.: Hummy (in slo mo)


Eric Kanigan (Son), photographer & video creator. Backyard, 7pm, Thursday, September 2, 2021

5:00 P.M. Bell! Happy Hour!


Hummy in Backyard. July 30, 2021. 5:05 pm.

Miracle. All of it.

Consider the hummingbird for a long moment. A hummingbird’s heart beats ten times a second. A hummingbird’s heart is the size of a pencil eraser. A hummingbird’s heart is a lot of the hummingbird. Joyas voladoras, flying jewels, the first white explorers in the Americas called them, and the white men had never seen such creatures, for hummingbirds came into the world only in the Americas, nowhere else in the universe, more than three hundred species of them whirring and zooming and nectaring in hummer time zones nine times removed from ours, their hearts hammering faster than we could clearly hear if we pressed our elephantine ears to their infinitesimal chests.

Each one visits a thousand flowers a day. They can dive at sixty miles an hour. They can fly backwards. They can fly more than five hundred miles without pausing to rest. But when they rest they come close to death: on frigid nights, or when they are starving, they retreat into torpor, their metabolic rate slowing to a fifteenth of their normal sleep rate, their hearts sludging nearly to a halt, barely beating, and if they are not soon warmed, if they do not soon find that which is sweet, their hearts grow cold, and they cease to be. Consider for a moment those hummingbirds who did not open their eyes again today, this very day, in the Americas: bearded helmet-crests and booted racket-tails, violet-tailed sylphs and violet-capped woodnymphs, crimson topazes and purple-crowned fairies, red-tailed comets and amethyst woodstars, rainbow-bearded thornbills and glittering-bellied emeralds, velvet-purple coronets and golden-bellied star-frontlets, fiery-tailed awlbills and Andean hillstars, spatuletails and pufflegs, each the most amazing thing you have never seen, each thunderous wild heart the size of an infant’s fingernail, each mad heart silent, a brilliant music stilled.

Hummingbirds, like all flying birds but more so, have incredible enormous immense ferocious metabolisms. To drive those metabolisms they have race-car hearts that eat oxygen at an eye-popping rate. Their hearts are built of thinner, leaner fibers than ours. Their arteries are stiffer and more taut. They have more mitochondria in their heart muscles—anything to gulp more oxygen. Their hearts are stripped to the skin for the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search for food, the insane idea of flight. The price of their ambition is a life closer to death; they suffer more heart attacks and aneurysms and ruptures than any other living creature. It’s expensive to fly. You burn out. You fry the machine. You melt the engine. Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime. You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise and live to be two hundred years old, or you can spend them fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old.

Brian Doyle, from “Joyas Voladoras


Notes:

  • Photo:Beth with Hummingbird
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

 

Monday Morning


Notes: Photo: Toshiyasu Morita, Toshi Studios (via Your Eyes Blaze Out). Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) and honey bees.

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Sometimes the call of a bird is so clear
it bruises my hands.

~ Joanna Klink, from “The Graves,” in Excerpts from a Secret Prophecy

Inspired by: The Ruby Throated Hummingbird, the smallest bird species that breeds in Canada and the US.


Notes:

  • Photo: via Your Eyes Blaze Out
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

 

Miracle. All of it.

World’s smallest birds is just one of several distinctions that hummingbird species claim. They’re the only birds that can hover in still air for 30 seconds or more. They’re the only birds with a “reverse gear”—that is, they can truly fly backward. And they’re the record holders for the fastest metabolic rate of any vertebrate on the planet: A 2013 University of Toronto study concluded that if hummingbirds were the size of an average human, they’d need to drink more than one 12-ounce can of soda for every minute they’re hovering, because they burn sugar so fast. Small wonder that these birds will wage aerial dogfights to control a prime patch of nectar-laden flowers. […]

[Photo Caption] Hummingbirds often brave downpours to gather the nectar needed to avoid starvation. This Anna’s hummingbird shakes off rain as a wet dog does, with an oscillation of its head and body. According to researchers at UC Berkeley, each twist lasts four-hundredths of a second and subjects the bird’s head to 34 times the force of gravity. Even more remarkable: Hummingbirds can do this in flight as well as when perched.

~ Brendan Borrell, from Unlocking the Secrets behind the Hummingbird’s Frenzy (National Geographic Magazine, July, 2017)

Do not miss full story & photos taken with high speed cameras


Notes:

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Breakfast!

bird-feed-cute-nest-breakfast


Source: Don’t miss checking out his portfolio at: Val Rodriguez Photography (via Mennyfox55)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Breakfast!

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call: Up, Up, Up

bird-fly-rain


Source: Thisiseverthing

It’s been a very long day for sleepy here and for me…


“A female Amethyst-throated Sunangel (Hummingbird) sleeps in Peru. It’s likely that this bird is in the early stages of arousal from deep torpor after disturbance. The gaping of the bill might be a way to breath deeply and bring in plenty of oxygen. When they are disturbed in torpor, they try to warm up as quickly as possible and that involves intense shivering. But initially, they are too cold for high-speed muscle action so it’s hard to see the shivering movements. The high pitched squeaking sound it is making is likely a cute side-effect of the gaping for oxygen. The noise is actually a lot more quiet than it seems, for whatever reason my camera picked it up and made it sound a lot louder. This experiment was performed with the guidance and supervision of some of the top experts in tropical ornithology. This bird was not harmed whatsoever, it was fed with sugar water throughout the experiment and was released safely. After the experiment was done, I watched the bird fly away myself, it was fine.”


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