Orientation for New Participants

Note About Fall Hummingbird Migration
We track fall migration through online mapping only.
(Please report your fall hummingbird sightings!) Our comprehensive news coverage of spring migration begins February 3, 2010.

Journey North's Spring Hummingbird Migration: The Basics
We're glad you are joining us this spring. Here's a quick overview of Journey North's spring hummingbird migration season:

  • Who You'll Track: Students use our interactive maps to track one or both of two species of hummingbirds: the Ruby-throated (central and eastern United States and Canada) and the Rufous (mainly western United States and Canada). See species' distribution map. These species make remarkable journeys north from Central America and Mexico. See slideshow: Meet Two Hummingbird Species: Which is Which?
  • When the Migrations Take Place: The ruby-throated hummingbird migration begins in late February or early March. The first rubythroats reach Canada in May. Rufous hummers begin heading north in January. The first ones reach Canada in early March.
  • How to Follow the Weekly News: Every Wednesday, we post exciting News Updates about the hummingbird migration. Select "News" on the hummingbird navigation bar to find the updates. The first update is posted on February 3 and the last one is on June 9. (Sample News Update)

    Hummingbird News Updates include:
    • Latest interactive Migration Maps
    • Map Questions Handout (Sample)
    • A Topic of the Week: A slideshow, booklet, or photo observation, and a handout
    • Highlights From Citizen Scientists: Reports from other observers and "thinking" questions for students.
    • Journal Questions related to the week's topic
    • Links to other Resources to Explore
  • Sequence of Weekly News Topics: All through the season, students make and revise predictions to answer the question, Where will the hummingbirds head next? News Updates help them explore weather and climate maps, compare migrations from several years, consider what influences the migration's progress, and make sense of unusual sightings. Photo-rich updates also cover these general topics:
February: Students wait for our maps to show the first hummingbirds crossing into the United States.
Winter Survival Stories
Why Hummers Head North
Hummingbird Habitat Needs
March: The first hummingbirds cross the U.S. border, and the adventure begins!
(In mid-March, students can e-mail questions to our Hummingbird Expert.)
The Amazing Journey Across the Gulf
Comparing the Two Migrations
Adaptations for Survival
April: Hummingbirds return to our schoolyards and backyards.
Setting up and Defending Territories
Finding Mates
May: The parenting stage of the hummingbird's life cycle draws students in with compelling slideshows and booklets!
Building Nests
Raising Young
Preparing for Fall's Journey South

Other Core Teaching Tools

  • Journey North Journals: Many Journey North teachers have students keep Hummingbird Migration Journals to inspre learning and assessment.
  • Journey North for Kids: A simple, student-directed entry point to Journey North. It features engaging hummingbird stories, photos, slideshows, booklets, and videos. These build observation skills, inspire scientific thinking, and create fertile ground for discussions and new questions! (Journey North for Kids: Hummingbirds).
  • Other Hummingbird Resource Materials: Journey North has a rich resource library of hummingbird activities and lessons and frequently asked questions.
  • Journey North and Seasonal Change: Journey North explores the interrelated aspects of seasonal change. The hummingbird migration is one example. These background lessons, which can be used with all Journey North species, help teachers integrate the migrations into a broader context.
  • Assessment: You can use these Assessment Tools during and at the end of your Journey North Hummingbird project.