Flight of Hummingbirds

presented by Bret Tobalske

Bret Tobalske

(watch a replay of the presentation over here)

Flathead Audubon will present an online program on Monday, October 12 at 7 PM. Dr. Bret Tobalske, Professor of Organismal Biology, Ecology and Evolution in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana and he is Director of the Field Research Station at Fort Missoula. He will explore the diverse aspects of the hummingbird’s biological form and function that facilitate their prowess in flight. The program will be presented through the online Zoom platform. Check your emailed Pileated Post for the link or email us at info@flatheadaudubon.org requesting the link with instructions to connect.

Hummingbirds are unique among birds in converging upon the capacity of insects for indefinite hovering and remarkable maneuvering during flight. They also are adept at forward flight and some species migrate. The flight performance of hummingbirds represents an extreme with limits imposed by evolution as a vertebrate and it provides a useful model for the development of bioinspired, autonomous flying vehicles.

Dr.Tobalske received his PhD at the University of Montana in 1994 and pursued post-doctoral work at Harvard University. He was on the faculty of the University of Portland in Oregon from 1999-2008 whereupon he returned to the University of Montana. As a comparative biomechanist, he explores how the form and function of organisms has evolved in relation to the attributes of the physical world. Most of his research explores avian flight, but he has diverse interests that are united by fundamental questions about fluid dynamics and the effects of body size including, for example, the costs and uses of sexually-selected weapons in beetles and the evolution of polar gigantism in sea spiders.

The program is free and open to the public.