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Hummingbirds are kind of like the fairy-spirit-dragon-unicorns of the bird world.

When considering the very beautiful and very powerful hummingbird it’s easy to be like, maybe half bug, yeah? As in, how do they do that? With the flapping? What sort of superpower mutant gene exists in nature that gave them the ability to beat their wings at 200 beats per second (more or less)?

But wait, there’s more…

Photo Credit: Unsplash

According to researchers hummingbirds can also see in “non-spectral” colors such as ultraviolet. Plus, an array of other color combinations that blend different light waves with everyday tones. As in, the color UV green is something that exists in their reality and tuned to their senses.

This also means that while human eyes can catch the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo violet of the rainbow, there are more colors that exist within a light spectrum that we literally can’t see.

Image Credit: Pexels

Let that sink in. There are more colors that we can’t see. Like, do you even color, bro?

It works a little like this, humans perceive around a million different colors using the cones and rods in our eyeballs to process the red, green, and blue spectrum of light, but the happy little hummingbird bird (and most other avians) possess retinal cones that distinguish the non-spectral ultraviolet dimension of light.

Image Credit: iStock

This gives our flappy friends an entirely extraordinary and diverse experience of sight and perception outside of the palettes of which we are familiar.

Image Credit: Pexels

They use these extra cone perks to find their preferred food, their preferred mate and avoid their predators. So hummingbirds are most likely seeing a world of dynamic and intense color that a lowly human with only two weird opposable thumbs and no extra eye cones will ever get to experience.

And what do they do with it? Food, fun, and literal flight–from danger. Like fight or flight? You know what I meant.

What do you think about this extra advantage that hummingbirds have?

Let us know in the comments


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