Historical research reveals that the Wright brothers studied birds in order to develop the airplane.* Similarly, engineers might not have been able to develop helicopters without knowledge of the hummingbird. This wonderful creature has abilities that cannot be imagined to be the result of millions of years of step-by-step evolution. Hummingbirds are not just tiny helicopters with the ability to fly forward, backward, and straight upward in the blink of an eye, but have other amazing traits and abilitites. So far as is known, hummingbirds are the only birds with these tremendous flight capabilities and can even fly sideways and upside down.

When hovering, hummingbirds beat their wings 20 to 80 times per second, depending on the species. During acceleration and other aerial actions, their wing beats may increase up to 200 times per second. To appreciate these high rates of movement, consider that humans can only blink their eyes in about 1/10th of a second or about 10 times a second. The high rate of wing beating in these little creatures causes an audible humming and thus their name.

The metabolism of hummingbirds is extremely high. The heart beats at 250-500 beats a minute at rest and up to 1200 beats a minute when active. This metabolic rate is so fierce that hummingbirds must find and eat daily nearly their own weight in nectar and insects or risk starving to death overnight. To save energy these birds enter a state of physiologic torpor (sort of a hibernation) in which their bodies cool down to nearly ambient temperature. Studies have also shown that this extreme metabalism rate does not mean the birds “burn themselves out” quickly, as one might think, since they can live to be ten or more years of age.

Hummingbirds are uniquely designed with special constructions that allow them to efficiently eat flower nectar as well as insects. Their long tongue is curled on it edges, forming two trays to collect nectar. When the nectar is in the tongue the bird retracts its tongue and squeezes the nectar into its throat. And, its beak is perfectly designed for catching tiny fast-moving insects with the hummers having the capability to snap their beaks shut on small insects in less than 1/100th of a second!

Hummingbirds also have special designs for their wing structure that result in a special wing movement, as explained in Hallmarks of Design by Stuart Burgess (see page 135). Burgess writes, “…elbow and wrist joints are fixed. This wing structure makes each wing act like a stiff, powerful paddle.” And, “…the wing movement is not up and down, but forward and backwards. This unique movement enables hummingbirds to generate lift on both forward and backward strokes of the wings.” 

Finally, a hummingbird has the ability to fly 500 miles nonstop over the gulf waters to Mexico. In order to do this, it “knows” that it must conserve its strength prior to the flight, and so takes prolonged rest before attempting the trip. The very first hummingbird must have “known” this rest requirement before it took off, and this is an indication of the information that was included in the DNA of hummingbirds by the Engineer in the beginning. All of these irreducibly complex traits and capabilities found in the hummers point toward intelligent design from the Engineer, not evolution over millions of years.

J.D. Mitchell

*Bergman, Jerry, ICR Acts & Facts, “Bioinspiration: The Birds,” September, 2018, p. 16.

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