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Outdoor Hour Challenge Birds: Hummingbirds

Outdoor Hour Challenge
Birds #4 Hummingbirds
(Ruby-throated, Anna’s, and Black-chinned)

Inside Preparation Work:
1. Read the Handbook of Nature Study pages 115-117 on hummingbirds. Although you may not have hummingbirds in your area, all children should have a general knowledge of the hummingbird along with its special features. You might like to share this excellent YouTube Video: Hummingbirds-BBC Nature

2. Read and study Backyard Birds pages 20-21. These pages can be read aloud with your children and then you can ask them to narrate back something that they found interesting about the hummingbird. Be sure to discuss the illustrations and the field marks for each kind of hummingbird.

Anna's Hummingbird

3. Peterson’s Field Guide: Read and study pages 216-221(W) or pages 186-187(E). You can also read the How Does it Fly? section in the introduction. Page 20(W) and Page 26(E). This will help you to describe better the manner in which your observed birds fly. You can ask yourself if it undulates, hovers, glides, soars, or flies straight. See the illustrations in the field guide for a better explanation.

4. Also read the Handbook of Nature Study pages 33-35 on how a bird flies. The Handbook suggests several simple experiments to help your child learn about flight. The observation questions at the end of this lesson will help your child understand a little better how the feathers, the wing, and the tail of the bird help it fly.

Outdoor Hour Time:
This week use your 10-15 minutes of outdoor time to enjoy your neighborhood birds. We find that going outdoors earlier in the day will allow us to observe more birds than during the heat of the middle of the day. Our neighborhood is also significantly quieter during the early hours and this allows us to hear more bird sounds if they are there. The hummingbird does not have a song but rather you will hear the hum of their wings as they fly near-by. Sometimes they make a clicking or squeaking sound but it is not truly a bird song like other birds.

Also, this week try to observe some birds in flight. If you can find two different birds, compare they way they use their wing shapes and their feathers to fly. Use your vocabulary to decide if the bird hovers, soars, glides, undulates or flies in a straight line.

This might be a good time to hang a feeder designed for hummingbirds. I found this website to be very helpful in learning all about hummingbird feeders: Hummingbird Feeders.

Follow Up Activity for the Hummingbird:
You can make a nature journal entry for the hummingbird if you would like. It might be nice to include an explanation of how a hummingbird uses its long pointy beak to sip nectar and catch small insects to eat. You will find a coloring page for the ruby-throated hummingbird in Cornell’s bird coloring book: Feeder Birds Coloring Book.

If you are using’s bird nature study set (shown below), you can use the pages on flight to record your observations or any information you learned this week about bird’s flight.

Follow Up Activity for Other Birds Observed:
After you outdoor time, talk about any birds that you saw that you can look up and identify.You can use your Peterson Field Guide to help identify any bird you saw this week during your Outdoor Hour Challenge time.

Also I am highly recommending that you purchase the Bird Bundle from as a great supplement to your study of birds using the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Note: These are affiliate links.

All About Birds Basic Study Notebooking Pages
Birds of North America Notebooking Pages

Use code discount5 to save $5 on any purchase $10 or more from the Shop. (This does not include membership purchases.)

11 thoughts on “Outdoor Hour Challenge Birds: Hummingbirds

  1. We actually went a little “bird crazy” yesterday on our nature walk and in our own yard. Geese, Red winged black birds, Robins, a Finch, and newly hatched Mockingbirds. They’re on my blog.

  2. Loved all your bird photos…awesome to see so many birds.

    Thanks for the comment and the link,
    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  3. Hi there!

    I just wanted to say that I don’t think you could ever have too many pictures of wildflowers! Take the seasons as they come, eh?

    We enjoy your work here very much (But are perhaps too disorganized to do an Outdoor Hour that is recordable!)



  4. We enjoyed seeing our first ruby throated hummingbird of the season here in Virginia on Thursday!! I didn’t realize they were back here so soon…I guess I’ll need to get my feeder cleaned and ready for them! : )

  5. What a timely blog post – thank you! We recently began seeing little hummers here in southwest Texas, so I’ll be certain to go through this post with my children.

  6. We just had a wonderful encounter with kildeer and hatching eggs. It was such a blessing. It is posted on my blog now.

    How does the challenge work? Do we sign up when we’re ready to post about hummingbirds or just to commit to study them?

    You have put alot of work into these challenges! We will try to participate whenever we can!

    Have a great week!

  7. Tammy,

    You do not need to sign up to participate in the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Normally families complete the challenge in a way that suits their family, they blog about it, and then come back to the challenge post and enter their link on Mr. Linky so others can see has been happening in other families.

    You are welcome to post your link about killdeer for other families to read and enjoy.

    Thanks for your interest.
    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  8. Hi Barb,
    I’m not really clear on where we post our links if we’re not on the same challenge. We just started the dog challenge (#51 I think).

  9. Florida Mom,

    Go ahead and add your dog entry on the dog challenge Mr. Linky. That way when other families go to complete their dog challenges, they can click over and see what you did for yours.

    Thanks for adding your link,

  10. Dd and I saw our very first hummingbird in Key West last week – inside KMart of all places unfortunately. We have a Lone Ranger Warbler (male common yellowthroat) visiting our Gumbo Limbo tree in the morning hours too!

  11. Oh, this blog is looking so pretty! We are swimming in hummers this past week. They are amazing! Love, love, love them.

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