Thermal Imaging helps Unlock Secrets of Hummingbird Energy Usage

FLIR Systems reports on how its thermal imaging cameras are being used by researchers at the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Center for Urban Resilience (Los Angeles, USA) to better understand how hummingbirds have an incredible ability to maintain strength with little rest.

Understanding the physiological mechanisms hummingbirds use to cope with extreme energy requirements and limitations may open the door to broader, human medical applications such as the necessity to reduce oxygen and food consumption during long-term space travel.

Hummingbirds need to maintain a high metabolism because they use energy at such extreme rates. Due to their small size, they consume the caloric equivalent of 300 hamburgers in nectar daily. Unless a female hummingbird is nesting, nightly temporary hibernation (Torpor) is vital to survival. Torpor involves the drastic reduction of body temperature, and nesting hummingbirds are unable to enter this state as they must use their body temperature to look after their eggs.

Because body temperature is the primary indicator of torpidity, the researchers needed a way to monitor nests without disturbing the birds and introducing variables that could alter findings. By using FLIR C2 handheld and FLIR Vue Pro R thermal aerial surveillance drone cameras, LMU’s research team has been able to monitor birds from the air, while simultaneously capturing frequent, accurate and non-contact temperature readings.

LMU researchers are today monitoring 26 nests daily to measure the energy associated with female hummingbirds by thermally monitoring each of the nesting birds state of torpidity.

For further information on this news story please visit http://www.flir.co.uk/home/news/details/?ID=84635 or contact FLIR Systems at [email protected] or +32-3665-5100.

FLIR Systems, Inc. is a world leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of sensor systems that enhance perception and awareness. FLIR’s advanced thermal imaging and threat detection systems are used for a wide variety of imaging, thermography, and security applications, including airborne and ground-based surveillance, condition monitoring, research and development, manufacturing process control, search and rescue, drug interdiction, navigation, transportation safety, border and maritime patrol, environmental monitoring, and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) detection. For more information, go to FLIR’s web site at www.FLIR.com.

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