Diving hummingbirds experience g-forces in the range that could cause human stunt pilots to blackout. According to new UC Berkeley research, male Anna's hummingbirds fly 30 meters up and then dive down. As they pull up before smashing into the ground, they hit up to 9 Gs. The trick is all about impressing females. From Science news:
For a short period at their peak speed, the birds folded their wings and drilled down through the air at speeds up to 27.3 meters per second (61 miles per hour)..."Hummingbird pulls Top Gun stunts"
Adjust for body length, and the world just got a new fastest bird, (integrative biology grad student Chris) Clark says. The hummingbirds’ speed reached 385 body lengths per second, easily beating the peregrine falcon’s recorded dives at 200 body lengths per second. (Though the falcon was diving at 70 meters per second.) A fighter jet with its afterburners on reaches 150 body lengths per second, and a space shuttle screaming down through the atmosphere hits 207 body lengths per second.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.