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Hummingbird Migration Celebration


2014/09/03


By Nancy Brannon, Ph.D.

Early September brings the annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration and Nature Festival at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, Holly Springs, MS - September 5-7, 2014. Donna Murphy, Operations Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator at the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, expects at least 7,000 visitors or more at this year’s festival.  “Last year the hummingbird experts banded 367 hummingbirds, two which were previously banded,” she said.
The Hummingbird banding stations at every year’s Festival allow opportunities for visitors to see the birds up close - how they birds are banded, weighed, and studied – and some, usually children, to get the rare opportunity to hold one in the palm of the hand as they are release back into the wild. The Hummer/Bird Study Group, a non-profit organization founded by Bob and Martha Sargent of Clay, AL, has been studying Hummingbirds and migrating songbirds since 1987.

This year’s special guest speaker is Dr. Doug Tallamy, Dept. of Entomology & Ecology at the University of Delaware, author of Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants. The Mid-South Horse Review profiled his book in the June 2014 issue. Tallamy and co-author Rick Darke have a new book out this year: The Living Landscape: Designing Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden. Rick Darke is one of the most widely known proponents of ethically grounded, intelligently designed landscapes, as well as an accomplished photographer and the author of several other books. In this book, Darke and Tallamy show how we can enrich our home landscapes in ways that benefit wildlife while at the same time providing for human needs and desires—including spaces for play, meals, and entertaining. This is done by creating the various layers that exist in healthy, functioning ecosystems: groundcovers, perennials, shrubs, vines, understory trees, and canopy trees. The book provides hundreds of visual examples of what these layers look like and how they work; the authors provide the tools to create a nourishing home landscape that is ecologically sound and profoundly beautiful.

The weekend celebration provides a variety of experiences:

·              Guided Nature Walks through Strawberry Plains Audubon Center's 2600-Acre Nature Sanctuary
·              Kids’ Nature Tent
·              Live Animal Shows
·              Native Plant Sale
·              Experts on Conservation, Ecology and Bird Migration
·              Local Artists and Crafts Vendors

Other featured programs and speakers at this year’s festival are:

Southern Butterflies: Glimpses into their lives. Sara Bright and Paulette Haywood, Photographers and Authors
Creating a Haven for Butterflies: Your Own Yard and Beyond, also by Bright and Haywood
Shorebirds: The Great Migrants of the Delta, J.R. Rigby, co-founder Delta Wind Birds
Studying Animal Behavior, Dr. Richard Buchholz, Dept. of Biology, University of MS
Natural History of Turkeys and Related Birds, also by Dr. Richard Buchholz
Good Ole, Down-home Mississippi Snakes, Terry Vandeventer, Herpetologist, Living Reprile Museum
Live Bat Encounter, Rob Mies, Director Organization for Bat Conservation

About Hummingbirds: Hummingbirds are the smallest of all birds, ranging in length from 2” to 8.” Males of most species are identified by their iridescent feathers. Females and immatures of both sexes are normally plain and nondescript, both resembling the adult females.

Hummingbirds are strictly a bird of the Western Hemisphere. They are found as far north as Southeastern Alaska and the Maritimes of Canada and as far south as Southern Chile. The majority of the approximately 320 species are found in the tropics. Only 15 species have been known to breed in North America, with another six classified as vagrants.
Find more information about the Hummingbird Migration Celebration at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center at: http://strawberryplains.audubon.org/

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