Lovey-Dovey Hummers Faster Than Jet Fighters

Courtship dive involves G-forces that would make stunt pilots swoon
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2009 2:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – The courtship dive of an American species of hummingbird involves speeds that—relative to its size—outpace even fighter jets at full throttle, the Independent reports. Researchers discovered that the male Anna's hummingbird moves 383 times its body length each second as it swoops, creating G-forces strong enough to make seasoned fighter pilots pass out.

Other birds perform dives while courting or hunting, but the Anna's hummingbird is the fastest by far, said the lead researcher. The bird dives around 100 feet in the courtship ritual before executing a death-defying stop just short of the ground. Scientists believe the bird's stunt-flying ability has evolved purely as a way of impressing females.