Hummingbird Festival

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By Nancy Brannon, Ph.D.

More than 7500 visitors attended this year’s annual Hummingbird Migration and Nature Celebration, September 11-13, 2015 at the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, Holly Springs, MS.

Folks from Southeastern Avian Research were busy all three days banding more than 400 hummingbirds. The organization collects a lot of interesting information about the birds. Did you know that breeding hummingbirds often cluster around hawk nests, and that hummers nesting close to hawks are more successful at raising chicks? Why? Hawks don’t prey on hummingbirds and are not a threat to them and actually protect them from their predators, Mexican Jays. [Read more at]

If you think you’ve seen more hummingbirds than usual this summer, you have. It’s the new crop of youngsters, and young birds look like their mothers at first, regardless of sex. Also, dominant males at the feeders will tolerate the newcomers and not try to run them off. [See more at]

In the Wildlife Wonders tent, visitors could learn about Bats from Rob Miles, Rainforest Life from Bob Tarter, and – everyone’s favorite – down home snakes with Herpetologist Terry Vandeventer.

In the Special Programs tent, visitors could learn about Chimney Swifts from Jessica Hite, Wolves from David Unger, and Threatened and Endangered Species from biologist Andrea Schuhmann.

There were guided wagon rides and nature hikes through the property; an interactive water cycle exhibit: Water on Wheels; and lots of fun adventures for children.

At the Kids Nature Activities tent, children could feel the fur and see the skulls of various animals, make animal tracks in sand, look at specimens under microscopes, use various tools to simulate the eating methods and food of several types of birds, and go fun fishin’ for bluegill and largemouth bass.

Two highlights of the day are: (1) tour the Davis House and stand on the back porch viewing area to watch the hummingbirds at the feeders – and capture some photos. (2) To get a fleeting opportunity to hold a hummingbird in the hand as it is released after the banding procedure.

The Mid-South Horse Review sent a volunteer for a day and was one of the event sponsors.

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