The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Hummingbirds Beat Top Gun Fliers—Resilient Mother Nature!

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, August 10, 2015
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A benefit of a slower summer is being able to stop and observe the natural world—often realizing that we humans still haven’t matched the forces of Mother Nature. For example, when the male Annas hummingbird drops out of the sky, he pulls more G forces than a landing space shuttle.  I watched this death-defying stunt from my kitchen window as this tiny plumed rocket dove toward the ground at 90 feet per second or nearly 400 times his body length per second.  (No - I didn’t clock it. I had to do research because their aerial stunts just fascinate me.)

According to Chris Clark, a biologist at UC Berkeley, the male Anna Hummingbird quickly bullets skyward, multiplying by 10 the gravitational pull of the earth. Such a stunt would knock out a human fighter pilot and the wings of most planes would break off.  To put icing on this amazing display, the male always orients the dive so that sun reflects on his pink feathered neck.

I should have known. A few years ago, we found a hummingbird nest in my camellia bush. The tiny nest perched under a glossy leaf was a little smaller than a silver dollar and made from feathers and spider webs.  For days I watched. Two even tinier eggs, no bigger than my finger tip appeared. At last, two tiny babies hatched. In short order they grew much larger, wedged in so tight I couldn’t see how they could eventually leave and fly.

It was during one of my nest observations that I experienced the propulsion might of this amazing bird. The mom had zipped off for breakfast. I stood about 3 feet from the nest, watching the twins. Suddenly, one of them lifted its tail and zap—straight as an arrow, faster than a bullet—I had baby hummer poop on my shirt.  Now—you do the math: If a bird no bigger than an inch can be that deadly accurate and fast at three feet, whatever could a human do?  I’ve heard of projectile vomit but this is a whole new skill.  I couldn’t help but laugh. It’s a whole new meaning to “bombs away.”

What are you observing this summer?



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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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