Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Torpor snore

This incredible photo is a baby Tyrian metaltail (Metallura tyrianthina) hummingbird. Have you ever seen such a thing?! Well, I bet you've never seen an Amethyst-throated Sunangel (Heliangelus amethysticollis) "snoring," either (watch video here). The video, which was posted by a graduate student in ornithology in 2011, is just now making the rounds on the Internet. He has added to the description to clarify what we are seeing and I paraphrase below:
This was recorded during an experiment conducted under the guidance and supervision of some of the top experts in tropical ornithology in a world-renowned research facility in Peru. The bird is in a container that is attached to machines that measure how much oxygen the bird is consuming. The noise is the hum of those machines in the background (sounding much louder than it actually does). What they determined by measuring the respiration of this and other hummingbirds is that they were in torpor, or a state close to torpor. When they come out of this hibernation-like state, they breathe deeply to bring in plenty of air and shiver intensely to warm up their bodies as quickly as possible. This little female bird - who had access to sugar water throughout the experiment – is just waking up from deep torpor after disturbance and has not yet begun to shiver. She has, however, begun to gasp for oxygen, which likely explains the high-pitched squeaking sound she is making.
The researcher clarifies, "After the experiment was done, I watched the bird fly away myself, it was fine....The welfare of birds means the world to me, and I am dedicating my career to their conservation."

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may add your comments here.