Hummingbirds

Saranya Patel, Age 10

       Animals really rely on their natural instincts and senses to survive. For birds the most important sense is vision because it helps them with a lot of everyday life like escaping from predators, finding food and flying safely. In a recently released study, scientists found out that hummingbirds can see a lot of vibrant colors that humans can’t see. 
     In both humans and birds eyes there are special cells that detect light. The cells then send information to the brain about the light.  The different kinds of light are organized by measurement called wavelength. 
     There are too clear differences in between human and bird vision. Humans can only see certain wavelengths called visible light but birds can see ultraviolet (UV) lights. Humans can’t see ultraviolet lights because humans have three cones(a type of cell) in the eye each sensitive to one light: red, blue or green. Each cone sends signals to the brain that tell humans which color is which.  But birds have a fourth cone that is sensitive to UV light so they can see  visible lights and ultraviolet lights. This is not related the reason people get color blind is that one of there cones don’t work as well as the others do. 
Scientists wanted to learn more about birds and the color they see so they did an experiment were they created two feeding stations for wild hummingbirds one with sugar water and one with plain water. Then, the scientists shined visible lights on one feeding station and UV lights and visible lights on the other to see if the hummingbirds could see the difference. Within hours the hummingbirds knew which color represented the feeder with sugar and the feeder without sugar even when they moved the feeders around. The experiment proved that hummingbirds could see ultraviolet.
I honestly only thought that butterflies could see ultraviolet untill I read an article about hummingbirds in The Week Junior! Also, I wanted to share a fun fact I read in The Week Junior as well: Animals like dogs, cats,and raccoons see fewer colors than we can but  they see better in dim light. It’s really helpful for raccoons because it’s easier for them to see and hunt at night. 
Be safe!

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