Annual hummingbird festival set for Sept. 10-12

HOLLY SPRINGS – Organizers at the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center are gearing up for the 11th annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration on Sept. 10-12.
Thousands of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have begun their migration from Canada toward their winter home in Mexico and Central America, and some are stopping to refuel at Strawberry Plains, near Holly Springs.
Last year 9,000 visitors to the center got to see these tiny birds during their journey, which includes a 500-mile flight over the Gulf of Mexico.
This year’s festival features a number of speakers, including Douglas W. Tallamy, author of “Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants,” and Greg Butcher, director of bird conservation for The National Audubon Society.
As in years past, visitors will have the chance to touch and hold birds. Renowned expert Bob Sargent and his team, the Hummer/Bird Study Group, will again be banding hummingbirds. The tiny numbered leg bands enable scientists to determine how far south the birds go for winter, where they stop during their travels, how long they live, and whether they come back to the same sites year after year.
While the hummingbird migration is a major part of the weekend, it is a festival, with tents full of nature-inspired gifts, arts and crafts, talks on nature, and a chance to buy hummingbird feeders and bird-friendly plants.
“Hummingbirds are great ambassadors for nature and conservation,” said Walter Hubbard, director of the center. “They are one of nature’s true marvels and one of many attractions to enjoy at the festival.”
Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for children under 12; admission for 12-passenger vans and buses is $10 per person. All parking is free. Hamburgers and hotdogs will be for sale.
For more information or directions, visit strawberryplains .audubon.org or call (662) 252-1155.

Fast Facts
– Hummingbirds are the smallest of all birds, measuring between 2 and 8 inches.
– A newborn hummingbird is about the size of a honeybee.
– Only the Ruby-throated Hummingbird breeds east of the Mississippi River.
– The Ruby-throat beats its wings 40 to 80 times a second, and maintains an average flight speed of 30 mph.
– Hummingbirds are the only species of birds that can truly fly backward.

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal