That Help Hummingbirds Survive
Every species is unique, even if it has close relatives. And every species
lives only in certain places in the world. Some species, like Mallards,
are generalists that can survive in many kinds of habitats eating
a wide variety of food--Mallards are found on every continent except Antarctica.
Other species, like the Nene (also called the Hawaiian Goose) are specialists,
living in a more restricted range with special dietary or habitat
requirements--Nene's feed on berries and grasses on Hawaiian islands.
They have very little webbing between their toes, an adaptation for walking
on jagged volcanic rock
Rufous and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are both specialists AND generalists!
They migrate and nest over a broad geographical range like generalists.
They mostly eat nectar and tiny insects, like specialists, but can branch
out to take sap from sapsucker drill holes and can even eat willow catkins
when a sudden cold snap makes other spring foods scarce.
seeing a hummingbird for the first time could instantly guess that this
bird eats liquid food from flowers, flies long distances flapping every
moment, and has some sort of adaptation for staying alive on freezing
nights or cold, rainy days. How? By understanding how bird bodies and
behavior are adapted to habitat and food requirements.
In this lesson, we'll look at a hummingbird's body from head to tail tip
to see just how this bird is designed precisely for the kind of life it
leads. Students will then engage in an activity to see what they'd need
to add to their own bodies to live like hummingbirds.
these links to learn about hummingbird adaptations!
The Match Game
The most important part of a human body is the brain, which allows
us to solve a lot of problems and adapt to a lot of different environments
without changing our whole body. Let's think of some human inventions and
how they could help us live like hummingbirds.
Inventions and Hummer Adaptations!
Match the hummer's needs with a human invention that allows us to do what
hummers do naturally. (Print student
Discover flowers and detect enemies from a long distance
Sit on high tree branches without falling off
Eat nectar fom inside flowers
Hat, jacket, raincoat
Catch flying insects
Cars, buses, trains, or airplanes
Breathe at high altitudes
Fly long distances without resting
Migrate long distances without getting lost
Keep warm and dry in bad weather
Map and compass
Hover in one place
Save energy when sleeping on cool nights
Know when it's time to migrate
Binoculars or telescope