Teaching Suggestions
Fueling Migration: How Hummers Keep Their Engines Running
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Darting from flower to flower, hovering near feeders, and migrating long distances, hummingbirds use a lot of energy. They burn energy so fast that they need to eat 1.5 to 3 times their weight in food each day.

Essential Question
How do hummingbirds get the energy they need
to keep their engines running and to fuel up
for a long migration?


Before Reading


Read aloud the slideshow title and display images from the photo gallery. Have students make predictions and ask questions. Challenge them to list verbs that describe what the hummingbirds are doing in each photo.

photo gallery
Photo Gallery

After Reading
1. Summary Writing
Place students in small groups and distribute the journal page. Have each group work together to summarize how hummers keep their engines running during migration. They can use the action words to write their summary.
2. Summarize the Facts
Have students use the photo gallery images to create their own fact book, using information they learned about hummingbirds, food, and survival.

Hummingbird Migration and Energy Needs

Extend Learning

1. Outdoor Observations
Take the class outside to identify where hummingbirds might be able to find nectar, insects, spiders, and tree sap. Encourage students to use a field notebook to draw and write about the places they find.

2. Food Energy Research
Challenge students to use a variety of resources to learn more about food energy by posing intriquing questions:

  • How do the foods we eat become energy?
  • Why is eating high-energy foods important?
  • What food choices give you the energy you need each day?
  • What kinds of food are high energy fuels?
  • What food choices are "fizzle fuels"--foods that are a quick source of energy but that spurt of energy fizzles quickly?

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