Short-Distance and Long-Distance Migrants
Comparing Robins and Hummingbirds

Teacher Tips: Sample Responses

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds
Spring migration patterns and timing

Main factors that prompt them to migrate * Availability of food
* "Good" weather

(Daylength plays small role.)
* Daylength (photoperiod)
Main winter food Fruits from trees and shrubs Flower nectar, (sap), insects
Main breeding season food Earthworms, bugs, insects, other ground-dwellers Flower nectar, (sap), insects
How do they know their migration route? No single route. Depends on where food is and on weather. Babies learn to "hang out" with other robins and learn from older ones. Babies have innate, instinctive knowledge of route. They make the trip alone.

Ability to survive cold temperatures

Can survive in colder temperatures than hummingbirds can. Can't survive in extremely cold temperatures.
Average weekly temperature when they arrive in your neighborhood.    
Migration speed. How many miles per day can they fly?  Average 38 miles per day. Average 20 miles per day. (But fly up to 500 miles in 20 hours when crossing Gulf of Mexico.)
How high do they fly? 1,500 to 3,000 feet high Just above trees (or waves in the Gulf)
Possible migration hazards Snow and ice storms (from early migration), predators, collisions Bad weather during long (500-mile) flight over the Gulf of Mexico, collisions