7 reasons why hummingbirds are nature's secret badasses
Hummingbirds may look adorable, but that's just a facade.
Deep down, these bad boys are ornery, near-magical flying ninjas. And recent reports confirm they're even more awesome than we thought they were.
Here, then, is a brief, non-exhaustive list of ludicrously strange and amazing things you probably didn't know about these incredible tiny creatures.
1. Hummingbirds sometimes seem really, really pissed off.
Hummingbird taste receptors are super attuned to sugar. So much so that — as a number of scientists have observed — when you give them food that isn't sweet enough to satisfy them, they appear visibly mad at you. Which you really don't want because...
2. Hummingbirds will cut you.
Specifically, adult male hummingbirds. According to a report in Slate, they have beaks, "like stilettos, longer and pointier than those of juvenile males or females — the better for stabbing other males in the throat." Like the three hummingbirds seen here absolutely crushing a bird feeder.
3. For a hummingbird, every day is a series of epic keg stands.
Recent studies have shown that hummingbirds have highly sophisticated tongues that function like miniature pumps, which as Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post states, "allows them to drain an entire flower in under a second."
Chug bro. #Chug. #It. #All.
4. Hummingbirds basically have nuclear power plants inside them.
This tiny dude lounging on a baseball field may look relaxed but inside is a raging, insatiable energy volcano. Hummingbirds — unassuming as they seem — have the highest known metabolism among homeothermic vertebrates on planet Earth.
Yep. Pack it in voles. Time to admit defeat.
5. When performing courtship rituals, hummingbirds achieve a G-force so extreme it would cause most fighter pilots to black out.
Trained fighter pilots can sustain up to 8 or 9 Gs in a dive or a hard turn. Hummingbirds can achieve up to 10 Gs while executing a courtship dive, traveling at speeds that, relative to the length of their bodies, are faster than a space shuttle re-entering the atmosphere.
Most ornithologists agree that this explains why hummingbirds always look so damn smug.
6. Most hummingbirds live their entire lives without ever walking.
Because of their amazing ability to keep themselves aloft, hummingbirds have no need for your mortal one-foot-in-front-of-the-other nonsense. Hummingbirds spit on your pedometer. They fly, and they are legion. Watch your back, human.
7. Hummingbirds have evolved into terrifying spy robots.
Meet the Nano Hummingbird, a tiny, robotic sky craft modeled on nature's most efficient flying machine. According to its website, it was one of Time magazine's "50 Best Inventions" of 2011, and this "unconventional aircraft could someday provide new reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities in urban environments."
Sort of like a drone, but even harder to spot hovering over your house. Chilling!
That said, a real hummingbird could junk this baby anytime, and only by their continued good fortune is it allowed to continue existing.
Don't let your guard down, hummingbirds. We're counting on you to help us all avoid Skynet.