The world’s tiniest bird is only as big as an insect — and it’s named after one, too. The bee hummingbird is just 2 inches long from beak to tail, about the same as a grown-up’s pinky finger. its nest could fit on your thumb, and the whole bird weighs only as much as a penny! But this teeny tiny bird doesn’t look or act like a bee at all. Instead of yellow and black, bee hummingbirds have shiny blue-green, gray, and pink feathers. And the only things they “sting” are flowers: the birds stick their needlelike beaks into the center of a flower to drink “nectar” out of it. These small but speedy birds can visit as many as 1,500 flowers in one day. That’s a lot of snacking!
Wee ones: Which is shorter, your 5-inch long hand or the 2-inch long bee hummingbird?
Little kids: If your hand is 5 inches long, how many full 2-inch hummingbirds can you fit end to end on your hand? Bonus: Boy (male) hummingbirds have blue spots on their wings, while female birds (the girls) don’t. If in a flock there are 8 blue-spotted wings, how many male birds are there?
Big kids: Again, only male hummingbirds have blue spots on their wings. If out of 21 bee hummingbirds there are 12 blue-spotted wings, how many of the birds are female? Bonus: Bee hummingbirds flap their wings 80 times per second — too fast for our eyes to see. If slower hummingbirds flap 20 times per second, how many times as often do bee hummingbirds flap?
Wee ones: The bird is shorter.
Little kids: Just 2 birds, since 3 birds would stretch 6 inches and hang over the edge. Bonus: 4 birds.
Big kids: 15 girl birds, since the wings belong to 6 male birds. Bonus: 4 times as often.