Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hummingbirds - Outdoor Hour Challenge

On the Handbook of Nature Study, there is an Outdoor Hour Challenge about hummingbirds. The kind that we are seeing here in Minnesota is the ruby-throated hummingbird.

One of the many hummingbirds who eats
at the feeder in the backyard.

Each day, there are different hummingbirds that visit the feeder that is hanging from the pine tree in the backyard. Although there is much to learn by simply observing them, using the Handbook of Nature Study also is a great way to learn more about these fascinating birds.

Some of the key points that I shared with the girls that were from pages 115-117 in the Handbook of Nature Study are:
=> In addition to drinking nectar, the hummingbird is an insect eater. They eat insects while drinking nectar as well as catching them while they are flying.
=> The hummingbird carries pollen from flowers so it is considered a friend. The insects the hummingbirds eat (e.g., beetles, ants, flies) while drinking nectar are not pollinators...they simple drink the nectar.
=> The hummingbird has a long,double-tubed tongue that it uses while having a mingled diet of insects and nectar.
=> Hummingbirds aren't supposed to sing. Rather, they use their voices for squeaking when frightened or angry.
=> The nest is very small - only about 3/4" in diameter and 1/2" deep. It is a symmetrical cup that is covered with lichens. It is lined with the down of plant seeds and fibers. The lichens are fastened to the outside with the silk web of spiders or caterpillars.
=> The reason why we don't see hummingbird nests is because they are 10-50 feet above the ground.
=> There are generally two eggs in a nest that look like tiny beans.
=> When a hummingbird hatches from its egg, it looks like a tiny insect - not a bird. It will stay in its nest for 3 weeks.

Hummingbird in flight.
This picture is taken from the kitchen and 
through a window, so it's not a good one in terms of photo quality.
Nonetheless, it reminds me of the frequent visits 
from the hummingbirds to the feeder.

Whenever I'm in the kitchen and notice a hummingbird at the feeder, I will tell the girls. Often times, they will come to the kitchen window so they can see the hummingbird at the feeder.

The girls and I each did a page about hummingbirds in our nature journals.

Here's Sophia's page:

She noted the size of the nest, what the babies look like when they are born, how they fly, that they are pollinators, that the tongues have two tubes, and the colors of the ruby-throated hummingbirds.

Here's Olivia's page:

Olivia drew a picture of a hummingbird as it was approaching a flower to get some nectar. She noted that hummingbirds like red flowers best, especially tube shaped flowers like honeysuckles, morning glories, petunias, and lilacs.

She also wrote that the eggs are smaller than a dime; and the females sit on them for 16 days. The tiny birds begin to fly between 22-24 days after hatching.

Here's my page:

The square box that's underneath the words "Tiny nest" is the size of a nest. Seeing it measured out gave us each a better understanding of how small the hummingbird nests are in real life.

I wrote, "The hummingbirds visit the feeder each day now multiple times. There is a very tiny green one who flaps her wings constantly."

This is the little hummingbird who flaps
her wings constantly...even while she eats.

Another note I wrote says, "I was able to see a hummingbird rest on a pine branch for awhile. She cleaned her feathers so thoroughly with her long beak."


Rita said...

They are the most fascinating of birds. Great information and nice that the girls are making their own pages. do they have their own journals or notebooks to keep all these interesting things together?

c.creativity said...

I always love seeing hummingbirds--they are so fascinating! We've planted our yard with hummingbirds in mind and are always sure to have pots of fuchsias and salvias on the deck so we can watch them feed. They can come quite territorial about our yard, conducting ariel battles over who gets to make the most of our plants. I'm glad your girls are getting a chance to see and learn about hummingbirds.

You can see some of my hummingbird photos here:

Barb said...

Nicely done! I love hummingbirds and it was very enjoyable to read about your study, especially seeing your journals.

Thanks for sharing your entry with the carnival.