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Teaching Kids About Migratory Birds

Kids love to learn about wildlife, and offering experiences that revolve around the outdoors provides motivation to learn more about the natural world.

The actions of migratory birds offer an interesting study of how animals interact with the environment.

Investigating hummingbirds can provide attention-grabbing lessons about these roaming creatures.

There are around 340 different types of hummingbirds which can be found in the Western Hemisphere, throughout the North and South Americas. Most are tropic residing, with some having a preference for spending their summers in North America, and colder days in tropical climates.

Hummingbirds use up enormous amounts of energy, which is one reason they relocate. The search for food fuels their migratory process, and since flowers are a staple in their diet they must find seasonal sources of nutrition. The visual birds love bright colors, like oranges and reds. Learning about local flowering plants that naturally attract hummingbirds can bring children’s attention to areas that may entice the hungry birds to visit.

To check their current migration status, Journey North has observational journal maps.

If the birds’ migratory path is not in their area, have kids take advantage of hummingbird webcams to get a sense of their behavior. If on the hummingbird migration route, there are ways children can help them along their travels. In addition to flowers and insects, hummingbirds love nectar. Homemade hummingbird food can be made using only sugar and boiled, cooled water.

Wild Bird Shop has a recipe for hummingbird food and feeding recommendations. Though it may seem that a lot of sugar is needed to flavor their food, their systems quickly process it and use it for energy to sustain their active nature.

Many may assume that since the birds are attracted to red, that their food must be dyed red to get their attention. However, using dyes to tint their food can actually harm them. Instead, their feeding containers can be decorated with a colorful adornment, like a red ribbon or shoelace. Adhesive red film or stickers can also be placed on the outside of the feeder and replaced as necessary.

Aside from filling them up with tempting liquids, the feeders will need to be periodically cleaned to deter mold growth and bacteria. Also, they will need to be checked for leaks since dripping nectar can attract insects and predators that can harm hummingbirds.

Along with learning about their yearly rapid-winged journey, kids can also benefit from explanations about threats to their population. Loss of natural habitats is a main danger to the species. Climate change has also affected migratory patterns, causing them to search for food in areas where it may not be readily available. Approximately 10% of hummingbirds are currently threatened or endangered species.

For types of hummingbirds documented by states and provinces check out hummingbirds.net. Birds are listed in descending order of sightings.

Look at these Ruby-throated Hummingbird projects for children’s activities that are adaptable for different age ranges.

Watching hummingbirds and learning about how nature and the environment influences their migratory patterns is a learning experience that kids will enjoy.

Image Source: Google Images

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