Wing Beating…The New Olympic Event?

A hummingbird in flight

Watching the build up to the 2012 Olympic Games got me thinking about which new sports we could introduce for our furry friends and which animals could be gold medal winners. Flicking through the Taraji Blue photo galleries I stumbled across this image of a  Hummingbird in flight and I wondered whether, if we introduced a new Olympic event for wing beating, hummingbirds would be gold medal winners?!

I embarked upon some research on Wikipedia and the Guinness Book of Records website and discovered that whilst Hummingbirds are one of the smallest bird species,  they are very powerful. They can hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 12–80 times per second (depending on the species), fly at speeds exceeding 15 m/s (54 km/h; 34 mph) and can even fly backwards! In fact, during courtship, the ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) can produce a wingbeat rate of 200 beats per second as opposed to the normal 90 beats per second produced by all other hummingbirds. Surely that’s gold medal material?

 

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