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Hummingbird Flight I

“Hummingbird Flight I (Ruby-throated)”

30″ x 20″

Graphite on Paper

Most birds fly with upstrokes and downstrokes, generating all their lift and power on the downstroke of each wing beat. Hummingbirds, however, stroke their wings forward and backward, pivoting up to 180 degrees at the shoulder to rotate the wing. This pattern, with the wingtip tracing a horizontal figure eight in the air with each wing beat, generates lift on both forward and backward strokes, keeping the bird aloft and allowing it to hover. This type of flight control is more closely associated with insects such as dragonflies than with birds.