Hummingbird Aerodynamics- High Speed Video – Smarter Every Day 27

October 17, 2011 by 36 Comments

I’m shooting with a Phantom V10 camera made by Vision Research. – Click here and tell them Destin sent you! That will be fun. – Click for high speed video awesomness

Musical genius Gordon McGladdery made the music! Download it here:

Click here to see Dr. Warrick and Dr. Tobalske’s paper: – click to see a paper by Dr. Warrick and Dr. Tobalske.

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A special thanks to Wayne for offering to help me edit while I tried to make it through my Thesis Defense this week. I did not ask and he offered. Thank you Wayne.

Dr. Warrick provided the following papers for additional research.

Tyson L. Hedrick
Damping in flapping flight and its implications for manoeuvring, scaling and evolution J Exp Biol 2011 214:4073-4081. doi:10.1242/jeb.047001


Hedrick, T. L., Cheng, B. and Deng, X. (2009).
Wingbeat time and the scaling of passive, rotational damping in flapping flight. Science 324, 252-255.

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36 Replies to “Hummingbird Aerodynamics- High Speed Video – Smarter Every Day 27”

  1. Karthik says:

    I think I know what that tail flip thing does. I think the bird reduces his net linear momentum by converting the tail's linear momentum into rotational momentum. And by doing this not only is he reducing his linear momentum his wings now flap forwards creating a backward thrust and this brings the bird to a stop. 😀 I know I am late

  2. Menz24The says:

    why at the time 1:21 do you have one frame of the phantom watching the bird feeder while the sun sets?

  3. 4:35 The mechanism of how Destin devours Bird feed :p

  4. The robot part was the best!

  5. those little fuckers shoulders are pretty cool. They don't just flap up and down to propel themselves forward, they also flap horizontally to hover. then as if that's not enough, they can trim their wings to hover forwards and back

  6. M. S says:

    سبحان الله.

  7. To me, it seems like they "flick" their tails to counter their momentum.

  8. F-22 Raptor says:

    I think the "tail flick" is the brakes.

  9. Science convinced me of an intelligent designer! That is Jesus Christ⭐

  10. One of the most beautiful things i've ever seen…thanks

  11. what a beautiful video!!!

  12. Etan Jones says:

    Do you guys know how anti-evolutionary this scientifically accurate info is???

  13. May be it uses the tail flickering to stop in mid, air in the slow Mo footage when it flickers, it stops

  14. Robitic walk of kids was funny ☺️

  15. Matt G. says:

    Why is there an out-of-place inserted frame at 1:21?

  16. The slomo wasn't slow enough for me. Had to watch in 0.25x

  17. The "tail flick" is to mack it slow down quicker it goes in to slow down and flicks it back into place

  18. usafbrownp23 says:

    Seems not they are not flying. They are swimming.

  19. Hotrod Hog says:

    Destin, please stop putting red dye in your hummingbird food…Thank you.

  20. Are you seriously using hummingbird feed that has RED dye in it? Come on. Get smarter every day and just use 4 or 5 to 1 sugar water and maybe they will be around for your grandchildren. I couldn't even finish watching and I'll not be back

  21. You stole hummingbird supper !

  22. The juice doesnt have to be red. One cup purified water 1/4cup sugar all u need. I heat water just a little so sugar will dissolve then stir it really good then set in refrigerator for about 30 minutes or so to cool it also, keep feeder jar clean, wash with mild soap rinse very well, add water and hang it back up.
    I must have taken too long the other day my hummer came by while I was refilling feeder, she flew right in its spot for few seconds then began to "look" for it flying little higher & lower I felt bad as I was hurrying to get it back out to my back deck. But I imagined her saying "ok now, where did it go, it was just here!!" Lol
    Very interesting video!!

  23. HILO says:

    Real men love hummingbirds and aren't afraid to admit it:)

  24. HEY Vsause Michel here where are its legs?🤔

  25. Mark Sivert says:

    Found the hummingbird video

  26. if you were smart you would not include yourself in the picture.

  27. Jack Carroll says:

    Hello Destin….I just want you to know that I very much love your YouTube content.

    Please imagine that the hummingbird is in water. Everything is slow in water. It is easy to see what the wings of a hummingbird are doing if you imagine them underwater.

    Now the tail flick. That's easy. It's a brake….the hummingbird is moving in to the food source…it needs to slow down, hence the air brake.

    Now I'm not college educated like you but I do understand simple mechanics.

    Newton's law and all….for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Look at the movement of the hummingbirds wings and the movement of it's body.

    Think of an extremely flexible plane. Pretty much the same thing.

    I could be wrong here but…I look at the video and I don't need some complex scientific explanation to be able to understand what that bird is doing.

    Please keep up the good work

  28. My favorite video ever

    I need the song so bad, tried every way, what's the name of the song

  29. Mike Sinnott says:

    I imagine the tail flick would be to catch the current created by the wings to create an airbreak effect so his wings don't have to carry the full strain of halting forward motion

  30. It's like a jet refueling mid air.

  31. Knowing very little about hummingbirds, but a good deal of aerodynamics, I would tend to think the tail movement is a form of thrust vectoring, to slow the inertia of the bird as it approaches the feeder. It seems like the tail could be used to redirect the down draft off the wings. It also may change the balance about the wing axis, causing the vector of lift to alter and aid in slowing the bird. Fascinating footage! Thanks for sharing!

  32. Chugs red dye sugar water… Hope you're getting smarter everyday

  33. Mary Lagua says:

    Olive oil is healthy. You drank it too.😀❤️

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