When you — a tiny being, the world around are deadly to you. But brave kids humming-birds, trying to survive among giants, became the real superheroes.
Humming-birds are the least birds on Earth: for example, the Cuban humming-bird bee weighs only two grams. It is necessary tiny beings not easy: even if larger neighbors in the planet don't want to eat them, they can, simply without having noticed, to accidentally crush a humming-bird. To snatch though something from the cruel world, humming-birds are forced to act very quickly. These birds — planetary champions on the relative speed of flight. If passenger planes flew with a humming-bird speed, we would reach the destination 3-4 times faster, than now.
However, little birds not bad act also on absolute measures: long-tailed the humming-bird hermit of Phaethornis superciliosus weighing 5-7 grams can fly by with a speed of 40 km/h up to 40 meters. In the diving flight of a humming-bird about 80 km/h, however, for a while at all disperse. Wings of a bird at the same time make up to 80 waves a second.
ZOOREFERENCE Humming-bird Trochilidae family
Class — birds Group — strizheobrazny Family — a humming-bird
In total about 350 species of a humming-bird are known, and all of them live on the American continent. For such tiny beings these birds live extremely long — up to ten years. At the same time birds never go down on the earth: their small pads aren't adapted for walking. At night humming-birds fall into similarity of hibernation — to save energy.
To keep up with the pace to which also large animals will envy a humming-bird it was necessary to disperse the metabolism on full. In flight these birds spend per unit mass in 10 times more of energy, than the best athletes at run on a hundred-meter race. Birds develop such power thanks to a number of devices. One of them — the huge heart occupying nearly a half of a cavity of a body. In flight of a humming-bird spend more oxygen (of course, in relative quantity), than any other vertebrata and to bring him to fabrics, heart of a bird fights with frequency up to 1200 beats per minute. At rest it is slowed down "only" up to 250 blows. Volume easy humming-birds "absorb" oxygen from the arriving air twice more effective, than at other birds, blood superefficiently connects gas with the increased maintenance of erythrocytes, and the dense capillary network allows to transfer in muscles to them "fuel" as fast as possible.
At last, in each cage of a humming-bird the most powerful power station works. Cages create energy from the connections arriving with food in special "factories" — mitochondrions. The received "kilowatts" stock up in the form of adenosine triphosphoric acid (ATP) — the universal cellular accumulator. At a humming-bird the "working" surface of mitochondrions is much more, than at other birds, and "factories" work in the mode of a constant work involving all hands.
But, despite all these cunnings, humming-birds can't long maintain maximum loads. So 80% of time of a bird are forced to sit on a branch, being restored after extreme battles with the "big" world.
To live in the crazy rhythm, a humming-bird it is necessary to eat often and properly. And if people can break sometimes balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, for a humming-bird his maintenance — a matter of life and death. Unlike people, for fast humming-birds the correct diet — carbohydrate. Their main food, flower nectar, represents almost pure sugar syrup. Tiny birdies have no time and there is no need to think of the future. Therefore the most part of the consumed nectar is spent right there, and only a small part stocks up in the form of fat.
And nectar gets into a duodenum at once, passing a stomach as much as possible to accelerate throwing of "fuel". But at one "gas station" of a humming-bird some minutes can fly. Therefore they should save all life rigidly: nectar is used only for flight, and in other cases reserve fuel, that is fatty stocks is used. But even despite scrupulous distribution of calories, a humming-bird no more than 20% of time of wakefulness can fly.
At emergency of a bird use fat for flight. From the power point of view he is worse than nectar: its efficiency is 16% less. However without fatty "safety cushion" of a humming-bird not to survive: not every day it is possible to find enough nutritious flowers. Therefore fatty depots of birds, besides unlike people, are very quickly formed and also promptly spent. Especially it is important during annual migrations which flying humming-birds of northern latitudes should make. For example, ocherous a humming-bird of Selasphorus rufus every spring and the fall overcomes distance from Canada to Mexico. On a travel of a bird do several stops during which are intensively fed and gather fat. In a day their fatty depots can increase by 10% of the gross weight of a bird.
Relations - There is no love
Difficulties of life have forced a humming-bird to disdain the most important in life — love. At some types males and females — irreconcilable rivals. Purple the humming-bird of Eulampis jugularis lives on the Lesser Antilles and eats nectar of flowers of a gelikoniya. Brevirostrate males are larger and more aggressive than females and monopolize sites rich with a forage. Though the main course of males — the gelikoniya, a "universal" short beak helps them to extract easily nectar from other small flowers. Gluttonous males push aside females to the worst places. To survive, they try to discover rare large flowers of a gelikoniya day after day: males don't protect them as can't reach deeply hided contents. And only thanks to it dlinnoklyuvy females manage to support themselves somehow.
Big animals who don't need to think every second how not to become someone a lunch, are able to afford to be gourmets and to choose the most tasty pieces. Tiny humming-birds are forced to eat everything that gives them critically necessary calories. Was considered earlier that separate types drink nectar only of a concrete flower. But reality where surovy, and birds can't be fastidious, finding that flower. Every minute of flight for a humming-bird — huge power consumption.
To survive, the majority of a humming-bird "hill" all large bright flowers with a deep nimbus which they are capable to reach. Unless with a long beak it is more convenient to birds to get into flowers more, and brevirostrate prefer small nimbuses. Such specialization allows shortly - and to dlinnoklyuvy types not to compete for resources. But some birds unilaterally violate "gentleman's agreement". For example, owners of a short beak big-eared humming-birds of Heliothryx barroti instead of being content with small flowers, steal nectar from large, puncturing the basis of their cup. The plant at the same time isn't pollinated so big-eared the humming-bird behaves as a parasite, reducing chances of survival not only relatives, but also flowers.
At separate desperate types nevertheless pride has leaped, and they have refused to eat everything if only to survive. Kolibri-mecheklyuv Ensifora ensifora with extraordinary long beak eats only nectar of one type of a passionflower — Passiflora mixta. The flower, in turn, completely depends on a pollinator — more to his pollen hidden deeply in a nimbus, nobody can reach.
Though it seems what in rainforests of flowers without account, isn't enough for all of them. Therefore tiny birdies wage irreconcilable war with each other, competing for nectar. In one place of feeding about 28 species of a humming-bird can accumulate. Large types run the show, pushing aside small on the periphery. At many "kids" in such situation of chances to extract nectar isn't present at all so they should rise to mountains. It is far more difficult to live there, than in the lowlands which are filled in with the sun. For example, flowers of some cactuses in mountains in the north of Brazil blossom at only several o'clock, in the late afternoon, and if ruby the humming-bird of Chrysolampis mosquitus misses time, he should starve till next morning. But, despite life burdens in mountains, it is less applicants for valuable nectar there.
At last, humming-birds are forced to compete even with those whom "big" birds consider by a forage. Among insects there are many fans of nectar - it is both day butterflies, and brazhnik, and bumblebees. Humming-birds desperately fight with them for food, and, as a rule, win, but if there is too much arthropods, birds can't banish all. Especially as by the size some insects don't concede to them. Wasps and bumblebees are especially dangerous: if someone from them stings a crumb, the bird will have no chances to survive.
Eating only nectar, humming-birds risk to receive less necessary amino acids: for full-fledged life they need animal protein. Therefore a small, but important part of a diet of all types — insects and spiders. Such "additives" during the periods of reproduction and a molt when birds need a lot of protein are especially necessary. And to fill a lack of minerals, humming-birds as required eat the earth and clay.
Besides that humming-birds whom larger types have pushed aside from all "normal" resources should eat not favourite dishes, and everything, they also are forced to do it constantly. To resupply promptly thawing because of mad a metabolism of calories, they should have a bite time 10–15 minutes. For day of a bird nayedat nectar on a half of a body weight. Several hours of hunger mean certain death for a humming-bird.
To save time for food, a humming-bird drink nectar, soaring in air. On it the energy abyss so birds have learned to empty nimbuses of flowers with cosmic speed — for several seconds leaves. It is lightning the long tongue by means of which they drink up nectar, almost like cats or dogs helps to finish with food of a humming-bird. For a second of a bird immerse language in sweet juice to 20 times.
To consider a new flower and to decide whether it is worth spending on it time and also to the bottom to drink it, humming-birds have developed flight, jewelry on accuracy: have learned to stop sharply, to hang for a long time on one place, to fly back to front and even from top to down. It is inaccessible to any other birds.