Hummingbirds adjust their wings to fly through very tiny spaces

Hummingbird wings maneuver small areas. Hummingbirds use two tactics to navigate tiny leafy tunnels, according to the study. Avian acrobats avoid apertures too narrow for their wingspan. Incredible, they sustain elevation with constant flaps.  

For smaller apertures or familiar paths, they pose aerodynamically. Their tactic is to tuck their wings and glide before flapping again.  

How to examine hummingbird wings The hummingbird's lateral mobility and complex wing adjustments are astonishing in the amazing research. UC Berkeley integrative biology professor Robert Dudley led it.  

Going into the experiments, we would have used tuck and glide. How else could they pass?" stated Dudley. "This aperture transit approach with sideways motion and wing kinematics confusion is fantastic.  

They're altering the wing beat amplitude to avoid vertical descent during the sideways scooch."  

Barrier course for hummingbirds The team also featured UC Berkeley undergraduates Kathryn McClain, Ashley Smiley, and Jessica Ye.   

They cleverly trained hummingbirds to navigate variable-sized apertures using high-speed cameras and Badger's computer application.  

They found that birds hover to evaluate an aperture before using their unique transit strategies. See their experiment video here.  

"We set up a two-sided flight arena and wondered how to train birds to fly through a 16-square-centimeter gap in the partition," Badger said, noting that hummingbirds have 12 centimeter wings. "Then, Kathryn had the amazing idea to use alternating rewards."