Hummer Adaptations: The Wings

Flights of Fancy
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  • Hummingbird wings are narrow and tapered, allowing them to beat fast and furiously for many hours at a time. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds often migrate over the Gulf of Mexico, flying over 600 miles non-stop because there is nowhere to land.

  • A hummingbird's humerus bone (similar to our arm from the shoulder to the elbow) is short and thick to help the wing rotate.

  • The hummingbird's manus (the set of fused bones that correspond to our hand bones) is oversized for such a tiny bird. The manus is designed to not only support the flight feathers but to rotate them. This allows hummers to fly backward and to hover.

  • Flight feathers are light, but stiff and sturdy enough to beat millions of times as hummers fly about on their daily business or migrate long distances. The stiffness of flight feathers makes a humming sound when the wings beat fast enough.