Scientists Reveal How Hummingbirds Sing with Their Tail Feathers [VIDEO] – International Business Times http://newyork.ibtimes.com/articles/211694/20110910/hummingbird-sing-feather-flutter-sound-male.htm
During its courtship ritual, a male hummingbird would climb into the air 5 to 40 meters and dive-bomb down past a female. At the lowest point of his dive, the male would swiftly spread and close his tail feathers, making the fluttering sound. Clark and colleagues collected feathers from 14 species of bee hummingbirds, and examined their sound-producing ability using a Scanning Laser Doppler Vibrometer, an instrument that is used to measure the vibrations of a surface. When the winds were as fast as the hummingbirds’ dive speed, the feathers vibrated rhythmically, producing a shriek. More than individual feather, multiple feathers placed side by side amplify the sound, produced a louder noise by interacting with one another. The fluttering of one feather cause a neighboring feather to flutter, just like how the vibrations of one tuning fork may cause another nearby tuning fork to similarly vibrate, said the scientists. The volume of the flutter also increases when the flying speed becomes faster.
Yes, they get their name mainly from their method of trying to hook up. I’m told making impressively loud noises in front of human females is also considered a sign of high futility.
So the question remains, which came first the humming bird, or the bellowing beast? (Science is fun like that with the infinite recursive questions and all)