Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our Outdoor Hour Study: Hummingbirds

We haven't seen the first hummingbird this year (where are they?!), so I was a little hesitant to participate this week in The Outdoor Hour's bird study on hummingbirds, but the kids love hummingbirds, so I thought we'd go ahead and learn all we could about them, and we'll be waiting experts when they finally do arrive (I have faith). The above photo is a picture from a few years ago - a poor little hummer flew into our window and was stunned for a few minutes before he was able to fly off. My daughter took the opportunity for some close observation. She was fascinated by it's funny long beak.

For our study this week we read about hummingbirds in The Handbook of Nature Study online (still haven't ordered my own copy yet). We were all amazed to learn that hummingbirds eat insects as well as nectar, often picking them off flowers while they are there for a drink. This makes them friends to flowers both in that they spread pollen, and rid them of nasty bugs. So, awww, they are cute AND helpful. We loved learning about their long tongues that curl into tubes on the ends and even have tiny little brushes on them for sucking up the bugs. Could such an amazing creature really have happened by chance? I say only a master creator could have thought of such genius, way before man invented Hoovers.

We watched this video suggested on Barb's Outdoor Hour blog, and found this one, too. The kids were very tickled by the tiny tongues darting out to drink. We had never noticed them before in our own backyard hummers.

Afterwards we colored pictures of ruby-throated hummingbirds, which are the ones we have in our area, then I sent the kids outside to do some birdwatching, with a focus on the different ways birds fly. By the time I cleaned up school and caught up with them, this is what I found...

stealthy camouflaged birdwatchers (speaking in questionable Australian accents)

treehouse view
(that "bush" behind the telescope is my daughter)

no hummingbirds today, but saw lots of finches

And here's a phoebe and her nest we saw earlier this week...

checking out the nest

Join in on the Outdoor Hour Bird Study!


  1. This is a terrific entry and I am shocked over how awesome the first photo is of your daughter and the hummingbird.

    Love the camouflage too! So much imagination in your children to enjoy.

    I am right there with you about hummingbirds. We have had a random few but we are going to study and be ready when they do arrive in full force.

    Thanks for sharing your entry,
    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  2. We haven't put out our hummingbird feeder yet - but we NEED to! :-) And, I LOVE the photos of your kids in camouflage!!!

  3. After reading the Outdoor Hour challenge we also put out hummingbird feeders and my kids said they saw one the very next day. I didn't get to see it. I love the pix of your daughter and the hummingbird and the one looking down into the next. It is so exciting when God lets us have a peek into the lives of his animal creations. We are currently watching baby Mockingbirds and taking pix for the blog. They are growing stronger each day. We may need some camouflage to fool Mama Mockingbird as the grow. She doesn't take kindly to us peeking into her nest. I'm sure her beak is quite sharp. LOL

  4. How fun! You are such a good photographer, too. I love the picture of your daughter in the dryer. My boys would have a field day with something like that to play!


  5. future speech and debaters for sure with that Australian accent :O)

  6. Your birdwatchers are too funny! We always put out hummingbird feeders and have azalea bushes that attract the hummingbirds in early spring. We have several that return every year and they terrify me!! I can sit on the porch and they fly so close that I am afraid they will hit me and that sharp pointy beak will stick in my skin. I am such a NATURALIST!! Looks like you HSADD has departed and good learning and living are in full swing!!
    Blessings to you!!

  7. I'm off to get my kids to see all these pictures. They'll love 'em. Especially the hummingbird picture. That's awesome.

    We're loving Barb's Outdoor Hour too! We're going to post our hummingbirds sometime today.

  8. I love this! We don't have hummingbirds here, but my children remember them from their visit to the states and talk about them every so often.


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