Slo-mo Wonder

Got to love this Plant Porn posted at Maggie’s Farm (h/t Smokey on WUWT).  It’s from a TED Talk about pollination so I thought I’d repost the whole thing.  The hi-res film clip starts at 4:24.

I’ve seen slo-mo film of hummingbirds before and noted their incredible ability to keep their heads still while hovering (many birds do this), but note the acrobatics at 4:52.  Is that just to get the insect out of the way?

A goose was photographed flying upside down a few years ago, but there was a practical reason for that – spilling wind and cutting speed when coming in to land.

Do birds (or animals) do such physical manoevers for sheer enjoyment?

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3 Responses to Slo-mo Wonder

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    Watch a whale leap… It’s clearly for fun.

    I’ve seen film of bears clearly playing with snow. We won’t even talk about cats, it’s so obvious (even in big wild cats)…

    Bunnies will run and dodge ‘just for fun’ sometimes. I’ve also seen birds rolling in dust and taking baths with what looks to be a sense of pleasure.

    While not a ‘wild’ bird, (or maybe it was?), on one occasion a neighbor ( a Veterinarian) had a pigeon someone had ‘caught’ as it had been ‘acting oddly’ and not being very fearful. He looked it over and pronounced it healthy, but the ‘donor’ was long gone. I inherited the bird… We named him Walter. (Yes, Walter Pigeon… groan…)

    After about a week of Walter in the bird cage, I discovered that bird dander was making me wheezy. We decided to take Walter to the park to let him free. At the park, he sat on my hand for minute, looking at the other Pigeons, then decided to fly with them. Long story short: After a few minutes he came back to sit on my hand. Repeat a couple of times. Now he’s on my hand giving me “bird kisses” clearly having a joyous time ‘flying with friends.’.

    We get ready to leave. Walter tags along. We open the doors to the truck. He flies in and sits on the seat, ready to go “home”…. Well, I put him outside the cab and he realizes he’s getting dumped. He gets “peeved” and pecks at me (not real hard, just “hey, don’t be such a jerk”).

    There is no doubt what so ever that he was “flying for fun” and “looking forward to the trip home” and “peeved at being excluded”.

    One other bird story:

    One day the son was washing the car. A large black raven / crow ( I can’t tell them apart) lands nearby and comes over to look at the hubcaps. The kid starts to ‘shoo” the bird, but I stop him. There is something different about this bird. Not much fear, and curiously inspecting things.

    Again, shortening the story a bit, we ended up with 2 adults and 2 kids around this crow. He would even let us very lightly stroke / pet his feathered back. We were tossing coins that he would catch and then inspect. I even offered my key ring (which was a mistake…). He played with it a while, then started to fly off with it. Only got about 5 feet and the weight brought him back down, but it could have been a very poor decision on my part! Back to coin tossing.

    Eventually he got bored with us, had learned what he wanted about people, and flew away. But it was very clear this was a very bright bird, interested in playing with shiny things and people.

    There are lots of videos of various animals just playing for fun…

  2. Verity Jones says:

    Oh Yes! One of our cats played with me in the snow for nearly an hour – jumping for snowballs. My favourite animal/bird news story/video of recent times was the snowboarding crow in Russia:

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    OMG, that’s amazing! Bird on a snowboard with built in left chair 😉

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