News and Notes

The Richness and Rarity of Hummingbirds: A Guided Inquiry Activity Series

“When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all.”  – E.O. Wilson

The Richness and Rarity of Hummingbirds Video Series

The diverse species of hummingbirds are the grounding phenomenon for the entire guided inquiry series Students will consider many facets of biodiversity by asking and answering questions about hummingbirds. How many hummingbird species are there? Where do they live? Where in the world are there the most species? Where can I find rare hummingbirds? How can we protect and conserve hummingbird biodiversity?

Each lesson in this guided inquiry can stand-alone and the lessons do not need to be done in the order presented. The lessons focus on online resources that are well-suited for instructor-guided student-inquiry into hummingbirds and by extension, many other species.

This series of videos provides instruction and context to the guided-inquiry activities, The Richness and Rarity of Hummingbirds.  Learn from Dennis Liu, Amanda Briody, Erika Mitkus, and Jonathan Bower as they present to members of the National Association of Biology Teachers at a 2020 conference. These brief and informative videos help teachers better understand how the digital resources can be used to investigate hummingbirds as a phenomenon.

Half-Earth and Hummingbird Introduction

Dennis Liu provides an overview of our biodiversity crisis, the Half-Earth project, and the incredible traits of the hummingbirds, the grounding phenomenon for this series of videos and activities.

Where on Earth do Hummingbirds Live? Activity 2 Video

Learn how to use the many features of the Half-Earth map so students can investigate the distribution of hummingbirds in great detail. 

Using the Map of Life to Compare Hummingbird Ranges, Activities 3 & 4

Amanda Briody shows how to use the Map of Life to explore different hummingbird species in the Andes Mountain Range and how to investigate hummingbird diversity throughout the entire range of the group.

Not Just Where, But How Many? Activity 5

Erika Mitkus walks us through eBird, an important app for the birding world and science of ornithology. This video and activity uses the Ruby-throated Hummingbird to introduce animations and other visual data available for migratory bird species.

How Do Hummingbirds Depend on Other Species?

Jonathan Bower shows us the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), a website created to reach E.O. Wilson’s goal of having a page for every species on the planet. EOL has added a powerful interactive tool they call the trophic web which students use to see the network of organisms that interact with that species.

PBS Hummingbird Resources 

Super Hummingbirds, a PBS Nature episode, uses the latest high-speed cameras and other technologies to reveal new scientific breakthroughs about these magical birds.

Instead of drinking through a straw-like structure as many insects do, hummingbirds use their tongues’ to lap up nectar. In just a second or so, a hummer can drink up all the liquid a flower has to offer. High-speed macro photography has now revealed how they do it.  Watch here!

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