Hummingbirds! Strawberry Plains readies for migration celebration, festival

Donna Marston, left, of Maine, and Beverly James of New Albany browse the native plants for sale at the 2011 Hummingbird Migration Celebration and Nature Festival at the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center outside Holly Springs.

Donna Marston, left, of Maine, and Beverly James of New Albany browse the native plants for sale at the 2011 Hummingbird Migration Celebration and Nature Festival at the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center outside Holly Springs.

By Ginna Parsons
Daily Journal

HOLLY SPRINGS – Strawberry Plains Audubon Center will open its doors next weekend for the 14th annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration & Nature Festival in Holly Springs.

The popular festival, set for Sept. 6-8, will feature hundreds of hummingbirds feeding in native gardens as well as renowned speakers, live animal shows, guided walks/wagon rides and a close-up look at the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

“Once a person decides to protect and conserve hummingbirds, they start protecting and conserving other species, from insects to native plants,” said Andrea Schuhmann, outreach director at Strawberry Plains. “This festival is a celebration of all things wild, a wonderful way to spend a day in a truly historic place.”

Schuhmann said about 7,000 people attended last year’s event and she’s hoping for at least that many this year.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from school groups already, so that’s a good thing,” she said.

The tiny hummingbirds stop every year at Strawberry Plains to refuel before the non-stop 22-hour flight across the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors can watch hummingbirds from inside the antebellum Davis House as they fly through the gardens of Strawberry Plains.

But they also get the opportunity to see these birds up close.

Bob Sargent and his team from the Hummer/Bird Study Group in Alabama will once again put tiny leg bands on the birds to better track their travels. The numbered bands allow scientists to determine how far south the birds go for winter, where they stop during their travels, and whether they return to the same sites year after year.

Speakers from across the country will provide presentations on snakes, bats, birds, insects, and plants along with guided walks and wagon rides. A group of local artisans will also be selling nature-inspired crafts, and a large variety of rare native plants will be for sale at the center’s plant nursery.

“Once you have experienced this beautiful event, you are sure to go away with a new reverence for the natural world,” said Madge Lindsay, interim director of Strawberry Plains Audubon.

Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for children age 5-12; admission for 12-passenger vans and buses is $10 per person. Parking is free and concessions are available.

For more information visit strawberryplains.audubon.org or call (662) 252-1155.

Wanna Go?

WHAT: 14th Annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration & Nature Festival

WHERE: Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, Holy Springs

DATE: Sept. 6-8

INDIVIDUAL COST: $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for children 5-12

GROUP RATES: $10 per person for 12-passenger vans and buses

MORE INFORMATION: (662) 252-1155 or strawberryplains.audubon.org