You know those days when you just want to cosplay and feed hummingbirds at the same time? Yeah. Me too.
We had a good laugh last year when science communicator Destin of Smarter Every Day decided to put a hummingbird feeder in his mouth to teach us about population dynamics … but this? This is just perfect. Built around a professional grade face shield (yes, that means you are also battle ready, should your enemies make an appearance), the wearable “Eye2Eye” hummingbird feeder allows you to comfortably watch the tiny birds in action as they flit and dart between your eyes.
The secret to the mask’s success is a miniaturized feeding tube built into the nose. “But getting the birds to feed is actually a two step process,” explains the team at HeatStick, who came up with the idea.”First, you have to acquaint the hummingbirds with the feeder. We set an old can of paint on a small shelf on the side of the barn and slipped the feeder onto the can. It wasn’t long before the hummingbirds found it, and after a little searching, found the feeding station. Then we let them get familiar with the feeder for a few days.” Once the birds have acclimated, you just pop it on, sit still, and voila!
Hummingbirds might be small, but they can clock an incredible 60 miles-per-hour in a straight dive. For a bit of perspective, if my five-foot-two-inch self was moving that fast, I’d be going about 923 mph (a commercial Boeing 747 has a cruising speed of 550-600 mph). As you can imagine, all that hauling-ass takes a lot of energy, and one hell of an efficient body. A single hummingbird can eat up to half its body weight in sugar per day, breathes about 250 times per minute, and has a heart five-times bigger than yours in proportion to its body (2.5% vs .5%).
They eat between three and eight times per hour, a process that typically involves some impressive aerial acrobatics – from diving, to hovering, to flying upside down – so you can expect quite the show from your new face-minions.
The experience will cost you $79.95, a bit of eye strain, and a pinch of dignity, but HeatStick assures us that the feeders last, and are absolutely worth it. “There’s no forgetting the first time you see one whoosh by your face,” they say. “It’s just amazing. Individual characteristics become very noticeable when you can inspect the hummers at this very intimate close distance. They sound different, they feed differently, and they arrive at the station differently.” OK, we’ll take five.