Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air
Video: Incredible Agility

Biologist Doug Altshuler has turned his lab into a kind of hummingbird training center, where he can test the limits of their aerial agility. The key, he says, is hovering.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.
  • Anna Shelton

    I can’t wait; love hummers; love “Nature.”

  • John M. Uscian

    This looks great… I hope that they feature the swordbill hummingbird of western South America… if they do as good a job as they did with “Parrots in the Land of Oz”, this will be another DVED to collect from Nature.

  • anna toreky

    It is beautiful

  • anna toreky

    i would like to see everything

  • dove

    Well that’s cool… now set it free.


  • Penny

    These are one of God’s most marvelous creations!

  • Janet Wolfe

    Once one even landed but three inches from my hand while holding out it’s food. These little creatures are one of creations wonders.

  • Suzanne

    Amazing footage!

  • Thomas H. Kaminski

    Watched this segment after commenting on the write-up to the introduction (prior page). Was delighted to see Doug Alshuler in this “incredible agility” section. He is one of this country’s leading hummingbird research specialists and has been very helpful to me as I’ve done reseearch for my hummer DVDs. He’s as down to earth as he is brilliant, and his inclusion in this Nature video adds a very special dimension to the program. Doug was wiling to appear in one of my videos, but my customers — mostly retailers — nixed the idea, saying customers wouldn’t go for such highly specialized material!! If for no other reason (and there are many other reasons), his inclusion in this program makes it worth watching.

  • Cheryl

    Wow, aren’t these beautiful creatures amazing! God must have really enjoyed creating them!

  • David Parker

    I have been fascinated by “colibri”, “bejia flor” or the hummingbird since I was a small boy watching them feed on a Red Trumpet vine that grew in my grandmother’s Persian Lilac bush.
    I’ve listened to their courtship on the Pacific coast of Washington, been in awe of their mock aero-battles at my feeders in and surprised at their adaptability to the deserts and the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
    There is something totally mystical about them and once touched you will believe in fairies.

  • Syd

    I cannot wait! Set up my first hummer feeder ever last June and had a visitor within the hour! How do they do that? Never tire of seeing them in my yard. Takes my breath away each and every time one visits–wish Spring would hurry up :)

  • Miss Kriss

    As someone who works at UC Riverside, Doug Altshuler’s university, I just want to say thanks for this beautiful video. I’ll be watching.

  • Kelvin Arizaga

    As an undergraduate student at the University of California, Riverside, I deeply admire the research that you have done Mr. Doug Altshuler. You’re type of research is gladly appreciated!

  • Alberto Guerra

    I could say too THANKS it is a beautiful work… I hope everybody arond the world can watch this video and understand the natural….. es un video para apreciar la bellaza que tenemos y que deberiamos conservar….. congratulations guys you did at greath job……

  • John

    There is no evidence whatsoever that hummingbirds were created by a supernatural being so the God-talkers are just being silly again.

  • Nna

    My Husband and I really enjoyed watching the humming birds on PBS and we are pleased to see one’s taking pride in caring for these birds, but CREDIT goes to the almighty God Jehovah for creating such a beautiful creature like this. They are a joy to watch.


  • Kurt

    About 20 years ago, my mom had a planter box with fuchsia plants where humming birds used to feed right outside of our dining room window. One day I decided to photograph the humming birds with a Bronica 120 slide film camera. This is a single lens reflex camera, and when you trip the shutter the reflex mirror has to dive down out of the light path before the shutter trips. This makes a noise and takes a split fraction of a second before the camera actually takes the picture. I opened the dining room window and sat inside about three feet from the fuchsias with the camera at the ready. I took a whole roll of film of pictures this way — “positive” that I got twelve good pictures of humming birds. I was astonished when the slides came back that I had twelve very nice pictures of the fuchsia flowers where each humming bird was feeding as I tripped the camera shutter for each picture, BUT not a humming bird ANYWHERE in ANY of the pictures! That was my first and only experience with an animal that was faster than the camera shutter was!


  • Nancy

    I worry about those little study boxes. They ought to be free

  • dorothy p cary

    At almost 92 years of age
    sunday night at 8pm was the most magical hour I have ever spent. Thank you.

  • Michael

    I washed out of the army warrant officer pilot program at 22 in 1964 (my family was glad I flunked out as three of my classmates who earned their wings were killed in Vietnam) after 5 yrs in the fascination I have are the dynamics of flight among animals and birds, esp hummingbirds…besides hovering I am astounded as to how they shoot off like an insect, making a beeline for a flower.

  • Jeremiah Doege

    Thanks it helped me learn alot!

  • lori cohen

    I am mesmerized by the hummingbird, any hummingbird. Doug has added to my fascination with these most interesting facts on the physics of their remarkable maneuvers. Thanks for sharing something so awe-inspiring as well as addictive to watch. I am moved to have been given this opportunity.

  • Pearl

    Amazing video! Learned a lot.

  • Bernarda Figueroa

    De todas las aves ese es mi favorito .Es una de tantas maravillas del señor.

  • Jen

    If you love nature search pet TickleMe Plant

  • Ken

    here is the website to see and grow that Pet TickleMe Plant eveyone is Tickling.

  • Xpo Money

    This website is a thing that is needed on-line, someone with a minor originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

  • Riviera Tours

    Hummingbirds are just incredible, a level of evolution that is so amazing that if we can unlock their mysteries we may yet have a tool to evolve ourselves. At high resolution and with lightning speed framerates they can be slowly unravelled.
    Steve Hollmann

  • Chante Khay

    Big BMedia’s excessiveand not much meaningfulcoveragegoes to help the terrorists only.

  • HK

    He’s my animal physiology prof! :D

  • bored in riverside

    I am mesmerized by the hummingbird, any hummingbird. Doug has added to my fascination with these most interesting facts on the physics of their remarkable maneuvers. Thanks for sharing something so awe-inspiring as well as addictive to watch. I am moved to have been given this opportunity.

  • Terry K

    Stunning! Thrilling! Hypnotic! But mostly a genuine privilege; a gift to be able to witness the intimate details of this fascinating little creature.

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2014 THIRTEEN Productions LLC. All rights reserved.

PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.