“Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.”
A peregrine falcon diving toward its prey reaches a relative speed of 200 body- lengths per second. This is close to the 207 body-lengths that the space shuttle travels as it enters our atmosphere. Thus, the peregrine falcon was thought to easily be the fastest dare-devil bird on Earth.
Scientists have now discovered that a little pink male hummingbird called Anna’s Hummingbird is the real Top Gun among the birds. As part of its mating ritual, a male hummingbird will try to impress a female with his speed and acrobatics. First, the male will fly up to about 90 feet above the ground. Then, he begins a power dive. As he nears the female, he pulls up, ascending again. During that near-miss pull-up he experiences more than nine times the force of gravity. His relative speed during descent is 385 body-lengths per second. That’s almost twice the peregrine falcon’s relative speed. It’s faster than the space shuttle entering the Earth’s atmosphere and is more than twice the relative speed of a jet fighter running with afterburners!
The wonders of God’s creation are still being discovered, and Creation Moments still loves to make them known to our listeners. But God’s greatest wonder is His love for us though His Son, Jesus Christ. We are thankful that this wonder is revealed to us in the Bible.
Father, I give You thanks for the wonders You create, but I especially give You thanks for the wonder of salvation. Amen.
Science News, 7/4/09, p. 7, Susan Millius, “Hummingbird pulls Top Gun stunts.” Photo: Male Anna’s hummingbird. Courtesy of Kevin Cole. (CC BY 2.0)