Teaching Suggestions
An Amazing Rubythroat Journey
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Most Ruby-throated Hummingbirds winter between southern Mexico and northern Panama. The first spring migrants arrive in the U.S. Gulf States. What routes do they take? If they fly over the Gulf, how do they survive a 500-mile flight with no food or rest? When do the first ruby-throats reach their breeding grounds? What habitat conditions do these tiny birds need when they arrive? Use the activities in this guide to introduce and explore the hummingbird's migration route.

Essential Question
Where, when, and how do Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate in the spring?

An Amazing Rubythroat Journey


Instructional Activities

1. Start With Wonder: By Land or by Sea?
A hummingbird flaps its wings 75 times per second during flight, and typically eats every 15 minutes. When hummingbirds migrate, do you think they fly over land and feed on flowers along the way? Or do they fly over open seas, where there's no place to find food or rest? Have students look at the map and share predictions.

Hummingbird and Migration Map

Russ Thompson


2. How Long to Cross the Gulf of Mexico?

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?

  • Journal: Explore how wind speed and direction can affect flight times.




3. Where and when arrive?

  • Journal: Predict Hummingbird Arrival
Where, when, and how do Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate in the spring?
Extend Learning and Assess Understanding

1. Showcase Discoveries: Fact Poster
Have students use maps and gallery images that showcases the migration route and related facts. Extension: Challenge students to use technology to create an interactive discovery showcase.

2. Track Spring Hummingbird Migration With Journey North
As hummingbirds spread throughout their breeding range, continue to predict when and where they will travel.