Calliope Hummingbirds, Escape Maneuvers, and PIV!

We went back to the University of Montana Flight Lab in May to continue our long-term collaboration with Bret Tobalske’s lab on flight energetics and biomechanics of hummingbirds. This year we were joined by Bret’s Ph.D. (actually newly minted Ph.D.) Tony Lapsansky who has been collaborating with us on the heat study and Doug Warrick from Oregon State University. This year we got to use Bret’s new high-speed particle imaging velocimetry (PIV) system to look at the biomechanics of escape maneuvers as well as hovering and forward flight. This PIV system is pretty amazing in that a 2 second measurement gives us more information than we could collect in a week with the system we used for the 2005 Nature paper on rufous hummingbirds. All-in-all a really productive week!

PIV run on a calliope hummingbird.
PIV results for a calliope hummingbird flying at 6 m/s.

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