How Long to Cross the Gulf of Mexico?
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Monarch butterfly at sanctuary in Mexico in snow.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds can fly 500 miles non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico. They typically fly about 25 miles per hour during migration. How long does the trip take? Explore how wind can affect flight times across the Gulf of Mexico by completing this chart.
Wind Speed and Direction
Flight Time
No wind  

20 miles per hour tailwind

 

20 miles per hour headwind

 

Look at your calculated flight times. Do you think migrating hummingbirds could survive the flight across the Gulf at these different wind speeds? Summarize your conclusion.

Now that you realize how important wind conditions are for the rubythroat's spring migration, check the wind forecast often and predict:

  • "Is tonight a good night to fly?"