Meet Our Hummingbird Species
Which is Which?

Overview

Link to Slideshow

Grades:
2+

Materials:
Journey North Hummingbird Journals

In this slideshow, students learn about the two hummingbird species tracked by Journey North. Students build observation skills by describing and drawing each species. Because each species is found in a different range, students will study the range map* showing both. During the season, students will have a chance to compare and learn more about each species and its fantastic migration.

* Note: Range maps show the majority of a population, but not the individual vagrants ("strays") that some of you see and report. Also, more and more rufous hummingbirds are being reported out of the map range. This makes it even more important for student citizen scientists to get in the habit of looking closely at field marks, as other scientists do.

More Teaching Opportunities with this Slideshow

Practice Writing Skills: Field Guide
Ask students to help make a new field guide for Journey North bird watchers. In their Hummingbird Journals have them write a short paragraph that compares and contrasts the two species.

Compare and Contrast: Venn Diagram
Create a Venn diagram to show how rufous and ruby-throated hummingbirds are alike and different. Students can do more research by browsing our Expert's Answers to hummingbird questions.

Discuss These Distribution Map Questions

  • Which species migrates farther north?
  • Where do the two species overlap?
  • What is the latitude of each species' wintering area?
  • Which species do you think will arrive on its breeding grounds first? Why?
  • What questions do you have after looking at the map?

(Note: If you live in the West, you might see a number of other hummingbird species. See Mike Patterson's tips to help you know which hummer you're viewing: Are you really seeing a Rufous?)

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