• Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      I was surprised to learn how long the tongue of a hummingbird is in relation to the beak. I knew they had long beaks but was surprised to see the visuals that show how the tongue works and the length as well as how it is positioned inside the head of the hummingbird. That was fascinating.
    • Katie
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I wasn't aware that hummingbirds use torpor every night to conserve energy, but it makes total sense. I suppose that means hummingbirds benefit from these hot, hot days that don't cool off much at night - not as much body temperature change needed to conserve energy. I was also surprised to learn about how the arm structure of hummingbirds differs from that of other birds. Fascinating.
    • I knew Hummingbirds practiced torpor but I had no idea they spent 75% of day perching. When I walk I sometimes see the perched.
    • The structure of the wings are so different from other birds and how their tongues work!  I also didn't know they perched so much of the time.  I have sugar water and flowers for them in the backyard but from my office window in the front of the house I see them come by the flowerless shrubs and suspect they are going after bugs.
    • Theresa
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      The way that they retract their tongues to wrap around the inside of their skulls was amazing. A month ago, I would have been surprised to learn that they do eat meats like insects and spiders, but I recently saw a ruby-throated hummingbird go to a suet feeder that is hanging in a tree in our backyard.
    • Holly
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I was keen to know about hummingbird migration.  I've been lucky to see some hummers in the state of Oaxaca Mexico feeding on banana flowers in November, but I didn't know if they were the same birds I saw in the summer at home.  The migration maps were great! Hummingbird 4
    • Holly
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I learned the hummingbirds have shortened legs, which I never picked up on from looking at them before.  And their shortened arm bones are what enable them to do those amazing aerial stunts like hovering and back flight.  Wondering if both those shortening traits are a result of the same DNA mutation in a developmental  stage that shortens both the wing bones and the leg bones?
    • Jonathan
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      These little guys are incredible from a distance - speed, flight, beauty etc - but “close up” they are simply magical, other-worldly. The things they do that we don’t see or appreciate elevate them to a different level - the iridescence, the figure of 8 wing motion, the torpor, the forked tongue that works like an eye-dropper and is then stored around the brain etc. Wonderful - literally.
    • Matias
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      i never new that humminbirds  spend 75%0f the the day perched in a tree i love all the colours  of the hummingbirds and my favorite family of hummingbirds are the coquettes and i love this course                
    • Veronica
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I was not aware of how complicated their lives are!  They are more than just a beautiful little bird! The explanation of their irridescence was explained very clearly.  I understand human vision better as well as a restult of that lesson.
    • I really love the fact that this course goes far beyond the amazing glamour and glitter of these beautiful creatures.  Whether it is the specialized wing structure that allows the unique flying style, the beak and tongue, the high concentration of mitochondria in flight muscles, or the torpor, they are even more amazing than their already unique looks might suggest.  Great job!
    • There is so much great information in this lesson. The structure of the wing was surprising to me, although it only makes sense that their wings would be structurally different from other birds. I have read about hummers at high elevation in the Andes lowering their body temperature, but I didn't know that other species also lower their temperatures, although perhaps not as much. I have never read about the structure of the tongue and the mechanism that squeezes out the nectar that's collected.
    • Kurt
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      I was not aware that hummingbirds go into torpor, and was under the impression that Hummingbirds needed to stay flying most of the day to consume all the nectar they needed to survive. I knew Hummingbirds consumed a lot of nectar over the course of the day, and that they had incredibly high metabolic rates, to accommodate their incredibly fast wing speeds. I was also not aware that certain species of hummingbirds consumed spiders. This was a surprise because I thought that a hummingbirds beak was like a straw or proboscis on an insect, and that it could not open wide at all.
    • Olwen
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      I was totally surprised by the fact that a hummer's bill opened so wide. I knew they ate insects and spiders but hadn't given much thought to how they did this!  Also I have noticed our Ruby-throated hummers coming to the corner of the house.....spiders webs are there, didn't think about the bird actually taking insects from the web.
      • The past few summers here in Missouri I've noticed hummingbirds hanging around the tall cyclone fence that surrounds a tennis court on the nearby college campus. At first I wondered if the fence was a barrier to the bird. Then I saw that bird seemed to be gleaning something from the wires of the fence. I wracked my brain trying to think of what it could be that attracted the hummers and finally noticed spider webs strung across the openings. I thought it was possible but unlikely that they were actually robbing the spider's pantry. Olwen's comment got me thinking. Then I watched the video "Hummingbirds are Just Like Other Birds," and about 2 minutes in a humming plucks a tiny spider from its web. So amazingly adaptable!
      • @Anne That sounds like a sight to see!

    • Manuel
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Enjoyed the tongue and mechanisms to drink nectar
    • Alanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      I knew that hummingbirds are one of the smallest bird species in the world and how they love to eat nectar and at night they go through torpor. There is a quite bit of things I learned in this course but I’ll give out a couple. Not only is the wing autonomy of the hummingbirds different than other birds that I knew already, but the leg autonomy. Other birds are able to walk but when it comes to the hummingbirds, they can only perch and rest 75% of the day which I thought hummingbirds seem to only rest mostly in the night. The most fascinating I learned about hummingbirds is how their feather structure is like all over their bodies and gorget. Their feathers are flat like flat disks that are piled on top of one another that can go up to 12 layers depending on what genetic species of hummingbirds. The melanosomes are the key to have the light absorb or reflect off the feathers that we love and fascinate to this day. Absolutely amazing knowing the science behind that.
    • Pauline
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Turpor surprised me. I didn't know about that. And it is good to know it now, because now I won't worry about what happens to the hummingbirds I see when night comes, or when there is a long rainstorm. They are safely in a protected spot in turpor!
    • George
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      One thing I find exciting today is that we have much more sophisticated instruments to study physiological attributes. Back when I was studying ecology and evolutionary biology the use of computers was still beyond the average researcher. This was in the 80's (took me a while to get back to school).  I think the work being done at Cornell on avian physiology and the subject of torpor is certainly adding to our understanding of how animals deal with the daily challenges of survival.
      • I suspect that more people are interested in the incredible studies going on these days and that helps funding.  Back in the 70s people still thought studying animal behavior was useless and nonsense!
    • Hillary
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      The torpor state is very interesting! I wonder if there are other advantages aside from preserving energy and nutritive stores. Is UV camouflaging a thing?! Would predators be less likely to find them during torpor?
    • Jane-Anne
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I knew that hummingbirds went into torpor at night, but I had no idea how cold they get!  I also appreciated the explanation of how the structure of the feathers produces such brilliant colors.  Again, something I knew about superficially, but I never understood the details.
    • Ray
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      As someone who lives in the Southern Hemisphere I don't see Hummingbirds except when I travel but the number of species is amazing & so many are so beautiful. The number of ways evolution has produced organisms to exploit different survival opportunities is truely mindblowing. Hummingbirds exhibit a number of very interesting features from physical structure (bills & bones) & flight to the physics of feathers & appearance. A truly magnificent group of birds which I enjoyed learning about. My garden receives visits from some of our most attractive birds  (King Parrots, Rainbow Lorikeets, Crimson & Eastern Rosellas, Kookaburras, Cockatoos, Butcherbirds, Currawongs, Bronzewing, Satin Bowerbird + many more. We are very fortunate to be able to see such beautiful birds in spite of there being no hummingbirds.
      • Yes, you have your own beautiful and unique species which we never see in N. America.
    • I was surprised to hear from the video that in hummingbirds there is no bend in the wing during the upstroke but that the wing flips over, so the bird also generates lift on the upstroke. Looking at other birds fly I always saw this wing bend and assume because hummingbirds are so small and fast wing-beaters I could not see the wings bend.
    • Joan
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I have learned so much! The explanation of their iridescence - melanosome of different thickness within barbules was astounding. The fact that their tongues wrap around their brains and how they get the nectar inside their tongues was new to me. I hope the course will explain how they feed during migration, and what do they feed their chicks - nectar or insects or both? Great course!
    • Denise
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Yes! many facts- only found in Western Hemisphere , short legs, torpor stage to conserve energy, how they fly/hover,  how iridescent coloration works.  This has been a wonderful course.
    • The explanation of iridescence was really interesting