Sawaal-Jawaab: A journey from Hoolock to hornbills to hummingbirds

Hummingbirds live fast. They have among the highest metabolic rates of all vertebrates, and eat frequently to stay alive. Anusha Shankar shared some of the strategies they use to manage their time and their energy during the day. Do hummingbirds maximize energy gain or minimize energy loss, and how would the strategy change when environmental conditions vary? And then, what do these birds  do at night, when they do not have access to food? No midnight snacks for them!

Turns out, hummingbirds save energy by entering the hibernation-like state of torpor. They manage to get very cold (~50°F/10°C) and slow their metabolism down. How do they do that and still stay alive? This is what Anusha Shankar is currently working on finding out. Moving forward, at TIFR Hyderabad, she will be studying sunbirds and nightjars and other potential torpor users in the Indian tropics (while training students, reading fiction, and salsa dancing!). 

Media mention: The New Indian Express, ‘When hummingbirds go into slumber’

Event details:

Title: A journey from Hoolock to hornbills to hummingbirds: How do cold warm-blooded animals exist?
Speaker: Anusha Shankar (TIFR Hyderabad)
Date: February 17, 2024 (Saturday)
Time: 4:00 PM onwards (IST)
Venue: Aaromalé, Film Nagar, Hyderabad
Mode: In-person