How hummingbirds fly through spaces too narrow for their wings

High-speed cameras show the tiny birds keep flapping their wings as they fly sideways

A red-headed hummingbird hovers in the air in front of blurred foliage

Hummingbirds’ wings don’t easily bend, making it difficult for birds like this male Anna’s hummingbird to fly through gaps smaller than their wingspan.

Nicholas Chesarino

Hummingbirds are natural acrobats, twisting their wings in ways that let them fly backward and upside down, unlike any other bird (SN: 1/13/16). New high-speed video now shows how, using a bit of aerial gymnastics, hummingbirds can also slip through gaps narrower than their wingspan.