Last Updated on November 27, 2022 by Cristina
Do hummingbirds have good eyesight? Check out this article and find out if there is a significant difference between the human and this bird’s eye.
Hummingbirds are undoubtedly one of the greatest wonders of the world. There is something about them that has fascinated people for centuries. Try to imagine such a tiny creature, smaller than a dime that can fly thousands of miles in one day without stopping. They run on a diet fueled mostly by high levels of sugar, but also supplement it with dozens of insects to meet their daily nutrient needs.
We humans somehow seem to focus only on their appearance and flying abilities, because unfortunately very little is said about their eyesight. This is exactly why today we will try to offer you an answer to one of the most frequently asked questions “do hummingbirds have good eyesight”. If you are in favor, let’s get straight to the point!
Do Hummingbirds Have Good Eyesight?
These nature’s most agile fliers can reach incredible speeds with just a few pits stops to navigate the dense vegetation. You probably don’t even realize that they process visual information differently than other flying animals. As we have said countless times so far, they are unique in every way. Their innate abilities greatly help them cope with the demands of their extreme aerial acrobatics.
So, do hummingbirds have good eyesight? We assume that from the very introduction to this whole story you have managed to understand that the answer will be affirmative, but it will not hurt to explain in more detail.
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What Did Scientific Research Reveal?
It isn’t unknown that birds fly much faster than all insects, so they are in a much greater, mostly fatal danger of collision with various objects.
Scientists around the world have tried to find out how they avoid the inevitable collisions, and a team from UBC’s Department of Zoology has discovered that these creatures use their environment differently than insects to precisely steer their course. We suggest you take a look at this article and see what Roslyn Dakin, a postdoctoral fellow in the department mentioned above, had to say about this topic.
In a nutshell, the postdoctoral student decided to do a very interesting test in which she placed a group of hummers in a specially designed tunnel with projected patterns on the walls in order to find out firsthand what the secret is, that is, how these fliers steer their course to avoid collisions while in flight.
The entire testing was monitored by 8 modern cameras whose sole task was to monitor the movement of the hummingbirds while they were flying. We must emphasize that the little birds didn’t want to fly for no reason, which is completely understandable, it was necessary to attract their attention with something super tasty, so the team decided to lure them with their favorite thing in the world with a sweet liquid – nectar.
Do you know what happened? The birds flew back and forth all day successfully avoiding all obstacles in front of them. The thing is, unlike other birds that judge distance by how fast an object passes through their field of vision, hummingbird eyesight is so specific that it allows them to rely on the size of objects to determine distance.
How Far Can Hummingbirds See?
We humans are more like those other birds because, for instance, when we see buildings in the distance, it will take us some time to pass them, letting us know that they are further away from, for example, telephone poles. Accordingly, as an object becomes larger, it signals to hummingbirds that it is closer, and using this strategy allows these birds to more accurately avoid collisions regardless of the flight speed they use.
You don’t need to be a specialist to conclude that these birds have perfect eyesight. Here is a very interesting fact; hummingbird vision is so exquisite that they can see the feeder you have placed in your yard from about three-fourths of a mile away.
These creatures have near 360-degree peripheral vision, pretty amazing, right? This innate trait gives them a big viewing window around the feeder to easily avoid collisions with other creatures as well as objects. For a better understanding, we suggest you also look at this article.
Now that you know the answer to the question “do hummingbirds have good eyesight?”, let us briefly explain how they can land on a flower with such precision and speed. Namely, these birds have binocular fields that help them see the tips of their beaks much more clearly. Also, it’s not out of place to mention that they have relatively narrow blind spots and remarkably comprehensive visual coverage around their own heads.
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Can Hummingbirds See Color?
Is there a simpler answer to this question than this: hummingbirds see colors that humans cannot even detect? Since they are vertebrate animals adapted for flight, these unique creatures have better color vision than humans do.
What is the difference between us and them? We, humans, have three color cones that allow us to see so-called spectral hues (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet). On the other hand, hummingbirds have four color cones that allow them to distinguish a wider range of colors, including the ultraviolet spectrum, which we humans not only cannot see but cannot understand at all.
We must not forget to mention that these creatures have an incredible ability to see 30 percent of bird feathers and 35 percent of plant colors in non-spectral hues. It’s something we humans can only dream about.
So, do hummingbirds have good eyesight? In short, people are literally blind compared to them. Their vision is so sharp that they can see the feeder you have placed in your yard from about three-fourths of a mile away.
Feel free to share your thoughts on what you just read! We are waiting for you in the comet section below.
Read more: Do Hummingbirds Like Geraniums?