Migration Update: May 6, 2004
Almost at the Finish Line!
First-seen Rubythroats are now all the way up to Nova Scotia and New
Brunswick. How exciting! They continue to flood into states and provinces
where the first ruby was seen before as the migration fleshes out. Once
in North America, migration proceeds at an average rate of about 20
miles per day, and the northward migration is complete by mid-May. Are
your feeders up? They’re almost at the finish line! Thank you,
Lanny for another year of sharing your maps, data, and answers!
Hummingbirds Making Progress Inland
Mike Patterson says
the past week brought many Rufous Hummingbird reports from Montana,
where they just arrived April 24. How many Montana sightings do you
count? Rufous hummers are making steady progress inland, too. But Mike
also pointed out a curious lack of reports from central Oregon. Do you
wonder why? We did, so we asked Mike for his thoughts.
So Few Rufous Sightings in Central Oregon?
are average densities for Rufous Hummingbirds?
Mike’s first guess for the lack
of central Oregon sightings had more to do with the birders than the
birds: It’s not unusual for birders to choose not to report a
species because it's already been reported by someone else! Since many
people have reported Calliope Hummingbirds from the same region, Mike
had to wonder: “This could be because birders visiting the east
side from the west side of the mountains are more inclined to report
Calliope (they're more special) or it could mean that, for some reason,
Rufous Hummingbirds are just in lower-than-average densities.”
What ARE average densities? For that answer, Mike turned to the Oregon
Breeding Bird Atlas. Here’s what said about the map here:
"Breeding densities in the Oregon
high desert (as we like to call it) are much lower than other parts
of the range, as can be seen on the breeding bird atlas map (above).
On the map, possible merely indicates that the species
was detected at some point in the breeding season. Probable
most likely means a male was seen displaying.” (Mike reminds us
that Hummingbirds often display for reasons that have nothing to do
“So,” concludes Mike, “Rufous Hummingbirds are either
being seen, but not reported--or they booked straight to Idaho and Montana,
failing to spend enough time at points in Oregon east of the Cascades
to get noticed.” What do YOU think? You’ll want to watch
the data in next week’s report, the final report for the season,
to see what happens! in the meantime, if YOU see a Rufous Hummingbird
in the West, make sure you report it to Mike
Patterson. And if you see hummers, make sure you let
him know if any flowers are blooming, too!
Mike, for another season of sharing your data, map, and thoughts with
Not Over: Looking at This Year’s Numbers
Since hummingbirds are thrilling observers in so many northern places
now, it would be tempting to say that migration is over—but it’s
not! In many areas of the Canadian provinces and in the northern tier
of states, people have seen only one or two, or are still waiting for
their first hummingbird. Within the next two or 3 weeks, the rest of
the males will get situated, and the females will arrive. Seeing the
first hummer of the year is a thrill, but watching the migration flesh
out and new hummingbirds begin their lives is what brings this fabulous
annual cycle to fruition.
According to the maps (also see the table below), which time period
has shown the biggest push in movement for (1) Rubythroats? (2) Rufous
Hummingbirds? In our first report of the season, you read a page called
Ruby-throat and Rufous:
Which is Which? The page included a journaling question that asked
you to create a Venn diagram in your science journal to show how the
two species are alike and different. Perhaps this data will give you
something more to add to your Venn diagram:
|Before Mar 14
|Mar 14 - Mar 27
|Mar 28 - Apr 10
|Apr 11 - Apr 24
|Apr 25 - May 8
Migratory Species: Compare and Contrast
Monarch Butterflies and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are crossing eastern
North America right now. Both are known as nectar eaters. They fill
their tanks in fields of flowers and head north, repopulating their
breeding grounds after the cold, northern winter. Which one reaches
your backyard first each spring? Which one is first to cross the border
How many similarities and differences can you find between hummingbirds
and monarch butterflies? Learn all about the migration of each animal,
and about the animal itself. Next, create a Venn diagram to help you
graphically organize the similarities and differences between the two
species. For links to helpful information see:
All Kids! Challenge Question #10
Now put some teamwork together and see how many similarities and difference
you can find between monarch butterflies and hummingbirds. Generate
the longest list you can, and send it to us in response to. . .
"How many similarities and differences can you find between hummingbirds
and monarch butterflies? How many similarities and differences can
you list between their migrations?"
(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions
and Pounds of Sugar
Missouri, Margaret welcomed her first hummer on the 6th of April: “That's
the earliest I've ever had them. Now I have six feeders out and as the
summer goes on, it looks like I will have to put all my others out,
too. Let the fun begin!” Margaret keeps track of the amount of
sugar she uses. In a slow summer, she has used 90 pounds. This year
she feels it will be more. At any price for sugar, Margaret thinks it’s
Try This! How many cups
of sugar equal one pound? Look in cookbooks to find the answer. Next,
find out how much sugar costs at the grocery store. How much is Margaret
going to spend per recipe of sugar water? (See recipe below.) How much
will she spend on sugar if the hummers drink at least as much as they
do in a “slow” summer?
Fill ‘er up!
Here’s the recipe for hummingbird food for your feeder:
basic mixture is 1 part ordinary white granulated sugar to 4 parts
water. Before mixing, it is important to first boil the water for
several minutes to help keep the feeder sanitary and clean.
boiling, measure the amount of water you need. (If you measure the
water first, some water will boil away and mess up the proportions.)
boiling and measuring the water, stir in the sugar while the water
is still hot; LET COOL before filling the feeder.
unused sugar water in the refrigerator. And remember to clean your
feeder often. Any sugar water will spoil rapidly in warm weather and
especially in direct sunlight. Frequent cleaning is very important
to the health of the hummingbirds.
Peek in the Nest: Photos and Math Journaling Question
you started peeking into a hummingbird nest to watch the eggs hatch
and the babies grow with Journey North’s photo safari in Dorothy’s
maple tree. You followed along to Day 5 in the babies’ lives.
Were you so curious that you kept clicking on each photo until you saw
the babies leave the nest? If you didn’t, let’s pick up
where we left off, starting with photo "Day 6: Wrinkled Skin."
Remember to click on each photo to see in greater size and detail, as
well as information to help you answer the questions by each photo.
Why is the skin of hummer babies wrinkled when they hatch? Why are their
mouths so wide and beaks so brightly colored? On what day do the babies
open their eyes? Why don’t baby hummers bicker with each other
like other species do? At age 16 days, how many times bigger are they
than when they hatched? On what day were the hummers no longer IN the
nest, but ON it? Where will they sleep after they leave the nest? Which
hummer, male or female, will NEVER sleep in a nest again? Here we go!
This! Math Journaling Question
The photo caption told you that each hummer baby weighed 0.5 grams when
it hatched. So in about 16 days, they've become 8 times bigger! If a
human baby weighed 7 pounds at birth and grew as fast as a hummingbird,
how much would that baby weigh at 16 days old?
Babies: Discussion of Challenge Question #8
Last time you saw photos of hummingbird eggs from the time they hatched.
We asked: "What are at least two things that baby hummingbirds
can do as soon as they hatch out?"
From the time they dry off, baby hummers can (1) hold up their heads
and (2) open their mouths to beg for food, and (3) as soon as they swallow,
they can poop. Julie from Ms.Pfaff's 7th Grade Science Class at Challenger
Middle School in San Diego, CA. neatly expanded this answer when she
wrote, “They can't look around because their eyes are closed when
they are first hatched. One thing they may do if they are hungry is
peep. . .Also, they can open their mouths to try and tell the mother
that they are hungry. Also after hatching, they may move around and
shake of a little bit.” Thanks, Julie!
Mean Question: Discussion of Challenge Question
Last time we asked: “Based on data given, what’s the mean
arrival date for (1) Donald Rose McGhee’s hummingbirds, and (2)
Kaitlin, Jesse and Kari from South O'Brien Middle School
agreed, as did Julie from Challenger Middle School in San Diego: "Donald
Rose McGhee's hummingbird mean is April 9th.
But the students differed on Betty's hummingbird mean arrival date.
Is it April 26th or April 25? Or Julie's answer of April 24? Follow
along, using the instructions in the lesson Calculating
We listed the dates in order. Then we assigned each a value, starting
with April 21 at a value of 1 (remember, April 22 is listed two times),
and added the values:
1 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 7 + 8 + 9 = 39
Next, we divided by 9, the number of arrival dates, to find the mean
value: 4.3. Finally, we rounded the mean value to 4, because it’s
closer to 4 than to 5. Looking on the chart at the value of 5 for this
list of dates, we see April 24 as the answer.
some great observations: “The data were very interesting because
the data for each person was clumped together. Donald McGhee's data
were especially interesting because the mean date was also the median.
If you reorder the dates, you get 7 8 9 10 and 11. It is really interesting
how there is a straight in the numbers. The range of dates for his data
is April 7-11, which is 5 days.
“Betty's data range was April 21-29, which is 9 days. I think
that Betty's range of dates is bigger since she has been keeping track
of the hummingbird's arrival dates for a longer time.”
Three cheers and a BIG thanks to these hard-working students who like
"mean questions" and sent us their answers!
Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts!
Please take a few minutes to share your suggestions and comments in
our Year-End Evaluation Form below.
coming year, Journey North will be fundraising to secure increased support
from foundations, corporations and individuals. Your supportive comments
will be a tremendous help. Thank you!
to Respond to Today's Challenge Question:
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an e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. In the Subject Line of your message write:
Challenge Question #10.
3. In the body of EACH message, give your answer to ONE of the questions
The Next Hummingbird Migration Update Will Be Posted on May 13* (Migration
Data and Answer to CQ #10 only)
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