mystery The answer to the clues may be found at the bottom of this column.    Teachers and Parents: Enter to win an entire set of Dawn’s nature books of one title for your home or classroom. It's fun and easy!
Just read the clues below. They describe an aspect of nature—a plant, animal, mineral, habitat, or natural process.
When you're ready to make your guess about who or what I am, click ENTER NOW.
Who Am I?
spacerglass1 Clue 1:  I'm a member of the "dog family."
glass1 Clue 2:  I live throughout North America in deserts, prairies, forests, and even in towns and cities.
glass1 Clue 3:  You might hear me howling at night to communicate with my pack.
glass1 Clue 4:  Don't let me trick you—I am NOT a wolf.
Do you think you know who I am? ENTER NOW.
Entries should be submitted no later than noon on Friday.
If you guessed correctly, you’re automatically entered into the monthly drawing for a set of nature books from Dawn Publications.
A contest winner will be announced at the end of September.
Throughout the school year, clues for a new Who Am I are posted no later than Sunday night, so you can use them with your class on Monday morning.Good luck!
The answer to last week's mystery was: SEASHELLS Although Inside Outside Nature blog is changing it's focus, this weekly "Who Am I?" will remain the same! Teachers, click here to get ideas about how to use the contest with your students.  

Zip, Hover, and Zoom

This week’s blog continues the theme of Popular Pollinators with the hummingbird! (see previous blogs for Bees and Butterflies)

images-6A hummingbird zips up to a bright red flower and hovers there. The tiny bird darts its bill inside the flower, quickly sipping up sweet nectar at a rate of 10 licks per second.

Zoom! Flapping at over 50 times a second, the bird’s wings are a blur as it zooms to another blossom. Traveling from flower to flower a hummingbird carries pollen on its chest, throat, and the top of its head. Some of this pollen will trigger the growth of seeds, which is why the hummingbird an important pollinator.

Source: Audubon Adventures, an excellent classroom resource available from the National Audubon Society.

Inside: Flower Power

images-7Pollinators are attracted to flowers by their color and shape, and sometimes by their scent.

  • Hummingbirds are especially attracted to red, orange, purple, and pink flowers that have a tubular shape.
  • Bees tend to be attracted by sweet-scented flowers that are yellow, white, blue or purple. The flower also needs to provide a bee-sized “landing platform.”
  • Butterflies like sweet smelling flowers that are red, orange, yellow, pink, blue, or white. The best shapes are flat and wide or tubular.

Write the above information on the board. Give each student a 3×5 card and ask them to use their imaginations to draw a flower that would appeal to one of these pollinators. When they finish their drawings, have them write the name of their flower on the tip of the card and the name of the pollinator on the back. Then have them exchange their flower pictures to guess the pollinator that would be attracted to it. They can checking for accuracy by turning the card over.

Outside: Zip in for a Sip

CT  CTH HOME CULTIVATING LIFE 0308Give your students an opportunity to get an up-close look at hummingbirds by making and putting up a feeder. (Don’t worry, a feeder won’t prevent hummingbirds from visiting and pollinating the plants in your area, but it will supplement their energy needs.) Choose one of the easy-t0-make feeders from the sources below:

Be sure to hang your feeder in a spot outside where you can easily watch hummers  zip in for sip.

More Facts and Fun about Hummingbirds

annas_hummingbird_2

Anna’s Hummingbird

Become a citizen scientist with Audubon’s newest project: Hummingbirds at Home.

Did you know that 30% of a hummingbird’s weight is its flight muscles? Get more interesting hummingbird facts.

There are 17 hummingbird species in North America. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is one of the most common in the eastern half of the U.S. and the Anna’s Hummingbird is common in the west and southwest.