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Sunday / June 23.
HomeminewsHummingbird Vision Study: Complex Image System

Hummingbird Vision Study: Complex Image System

Scientists have determined that a complex image processing system is behind the hummingbird’s extraordinary agility at high speeds. The tiny bird achieve speeds at over 70 km/h, can dive at 100 km/h and steer a correct course at high speed without colliding into the ground or passing objects.

According to Roslyn Dakin, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia (UBC), the hummingbirds image processing enables them to determine whether obstacles around them are getting larger (ie. shifting closer) or smaller (ie. moving away). This has never been recorded in another flying animal and is different from the way insects such as flies and honeybees avoid a collision.

Hummingbirds were observed as they flew through a specially-designed tunnel with projected patterns on the walls to determine the way in which they navigate through obstacles.

“When objects grow in size, it can indicate how much time there is until they collide even without knowing the actual size of the object,” said Dakin. “Perhaps this strategy allows birds to more precisely avoid collisions over the very wide range of flight speeds they use.”

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences