What's Hot, What's Not for Hummers in Winter?
Are you one of the many North American students who can't see wild hummingbirds in February? You are. . .unless you live near the Gulf Coast. The tiniest birds on the planet don't stick around in places where ice and snow are the normal scene in winter, nor where folks haven't seen the sun for months. Instead, the tropics are the hot spots hummers head for in winter. The hummers are on their wintering grounds right this minute, enjoying sunny skies, toasty temps, and plenty of food. That's what's hot for hummers in winter.
Research what it's like on the wintering grounds of hummers. Then imagine being a hummingbird in Mexico or Central America right now. Write and illustrate a travel brochure to advertise what's hot in winter for hummers so they'll ALL want to be there!
Why Come Back?
Why do you think hummers and other songbirds migrate, anyway? If things are so good "down south," why don't birds stay there all year? The answer might come to you if you use a globe and a grid to estimate the area of landmass above and below the equator. Here's how:
Now, use what you learned from the exercise above and from researching your travel brochures to answer this week's:
Tiny Size, Humongous Power
For a long time, people simply didn't believe that tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbirds from the United States and Canada could possibly fly under their own power all the way down to Mexico and Central America. To explain it, they said the hummers must be riding on the backs of bigger birds. The truth is, hummers are so feisty that they often chase larger birds. One of our Journey North writers actually watched a hummingbird dive-bomb a Bald Eagle once, fiercely and fearlessly dropping down to the nape of his neck again and again. Perhaps, long ago, someone watched a hummer drop down or come up from dive-bombing a goose and mistakenly thought that the hummer was riding on the goose!
As you wait for the hummers to return this spring, learn more about these tiny winged wonders. How fast do they fly? How long do they live? How much do they eat? You'll be amazed when you visit:
How Heavy is That?
A tiny hummingbird weighs just one-tenth of an ounce, or 2.8 grams. How heavy is that? Find out and you'll have the answer to:
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