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"Wish You Were Here"
Wintering Hummingbirds Write YOU a Postcard

Each fall, hummingbirds, including ruby-throated and rufous hummers, fly south of the U.S. border to spend the winter in Central America. This is the hummingbird's"Winter Range."

This area, close to the equator, is a great place to spend the winter if you're a hummingbird. The climate offers warm temperatures and an abundant source of food from tropical flowers and insects. We might consider it a perfect place for a winter vacation!

Imagine you are a ruby-throated hummingbird that traveled south into Central America last fall. Right now you are basking in the warmth of the sunny, tropical climate. But very soon you will be getting ready to make the long, dangerous flight back north to your breeding grounds.

You decide it's time to send a postcard back home to tell your friends about your tropical winter home.

What will you write in your postcard? How would you illustrate it?


Find out what countries are in Central America (use an atlas or the internet). Choose a country in the winter range where your hummingbird is spending the winter. Gather facts and pictures about the country. Keep your references handy for the next part.


Use your imagination and the facts and pictures you have gathered to write and illustrate a postcard to a feathered friend back home. Use some of the following questions to guide you.

  • How did you get to the tropics? What route did you take to get there?

  • What did you see along the way?

  • How about the weather? What's happening outside?

  • What do you eat?

  • Who do you hang out with?
  • Do you see any other bird species from your summer breeding grounds back home?
  • What's the scenery like?
  • What do you do all day?
  • How long will you stay?
Try This (more ideas)

Map: Make a big map like the one above and display your postcards. Attach yarn to the postcard and hang from the country from which it was written.

Publish: Design and write travel brouchures for the hummingbird wintering grounds.

Play Games: Make riddles from the facts you learned about the hummingbird wintering grounds. Turn them into a "Where in the World" game.