"Basic Observations" in this section provide an introduction to the Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) and its natural history. Although some observational activities are designed for young students (Kindergarten through Grade 3), some are adaptable for adults and students of any age. Basic Observations are typically short-term endeavors that may take only one day or class period; some, however, can be on-going and include components that occur at regular intervals during the academic year.

When observing hummingbirds, teachers will get the greatest learning mileage out of listening to what the students are reporting rather than telling them what they will see; science discovery learning always works best when students haven't been told in advance everything they might expect. Ask students to write down what they observe--WITHOUT interpreting those observations; speculation and interpretation come only after clear and concise observations have been recorded. Students should be able to make simple observations about all sorts of hummingbird behaviors such as the numbers of birds at a feeder or flower, the ratios of adult male hummingbirds to birds without red gorgets, time of day when feeding occurs, increase or decrease of hummingbird numbers from March through October, etc.

Observation #1: Watch for Arrival Date of first RTHU of the year (spring in U.S. & Canada, fall in Mexico & Central America)

Observation #2: Monitor for Departure Date for last RTHU of the year (fall in U.S. & Canada, spring in Mexico & Central America)

Observation #3: Determine Frequency of Feeder Visits

NOTE: Please send descriptions and results (including photos) from your successful basic observations
Operation RubyThroat via the PROJECTS.

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