Saturday, September 29, 2018

What do Hummingbirds do in a Downpour?

We've had some cold and stormy weather lately with heavy rain throughout the day, and the bird feeder has been quite popular.  But what do the tiny hummingbirds do in a downpour?

Researchers used slow-motion cameras to find that hummingbirds have a method to cope with even heavy rain.  Much like a dog, they whip their heads back and forth in mid-flight to shake the water off of their feathers.  Incredibly, hummingbirds do this with acceleration that reaches a g-force of 34 - five times faster than a Formula-1 race car!

Of course, even with this capability, these tiny birds appreciate a sheltered place to dry off a little.  This female hummingbird spent a rainy afternoon going between the flowers out in my garden to feed and a hanging plant under my front porch to rest.  It was apparently a good place to dry off her wings and stretch a little...

... and catch a few little bugs.

She looked so cute fluffed up against the cold, wet day.  I doubt I will see her or the other hummingbirds for very much longer, as it is about time to head south for the winter.

After this week's weather, she is probably eager to start her migration!


  1. Sweet captures, Indie. I haven't seen a hummer for a couple of weeks, I think ours have headed out, along with the warblers. Currently, the underbrush is filled with white-throated sparrows. I love to hear their calls.

  2. I read a novel, about finding a comatose hummingbird. Breathing on it gently, and it revived to fly off. They must burn off a lot of energy!!

  3. Aww, sweet videos! I haven't seen any hummingbirds for a few days now--they are gone earlier than normal this year. I miss them. Thanks for the facts about how they deal with the heavy rains--I've always marveled at how they can fly through the rain. I have one feeder under an overhang--and that's a favorite stop for them during a downpour. :)

  4. Most of their favorite flowers are finished here. I think they picked up a tailwind last week. I will welcome them back in late April or May!

  5. Great videos of this sweet little bird. Wouldn't it be lovely to simply fly south every winter? We have one species, the Anna's Hummingbird, that has decided over the last couple of decades, to stay here for the winter.

  6. All our hummingbirds have migrated south by now. Great videos, and now I know how they deal with the rain.

  7. Fantastic photos, Indie! There was a documentary on PBS sometime ago about hummingbirds that was fascinating. I learned a lot about these favorites of mine, but I didn't remember what they did in the rain. It's worth watching, if you haven't already seen it. I haven't seen any hummers here since Sunday when there were two juveniles--I think--still flying about the garden. With the temperatures due to drop drastically tomorrow, I certainly hope they're well on their way to someplace warm.

  8. Very interesting, liked your movie shots. AH, if only we had Hummingbirds.

  9. Gone quiet here.
    Or under snow??

    1. Unfortunately it's been a tough couple of months as my mom as been sick. Not much snow yet...


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