Article Comment 

Hummingbird migration inspires nature festival

 

 

 

Special to The Dispatch

 

Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs will host its 14th annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration and Nature Festival Sept. 6-8. Thousands of guests will enjoy the natural beauty of this spectacular natural preserve in North Mississippi. This award-winning festival features hundreds of hummingbirds feeding in lush native gardens, as well as renowned speakers on various nature topics, live animal shows, guided walks/wagon rides and a close-up look at the ruby-throated hummingbird, one of nature's most fascinating creatures. 

 

Strawberry Plains is an excellent site for these tiny birds to stop and refuel before the grueling non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico. The historic antebellum plantation on site, with an abundance of native plants and feeders, provides the insects and nectar helping hummingbirds gain the required weight for their 22-hour Gulf crossing.  

 

Traveling up to 2,500 miles each fall, hummingbirds delight nature-lovers in backyards and, more importantly, have become ambassadors for the needs of other wildlife species.  

 

"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." 

 

 

 

Don't miss 

 

Visitors can see hummingbirds from inside the beautiful Davis House, as the small creatures flit through the gardens of Strawberry Plains. But nothing beats seeing these birds up close. Bob Sargent and his team from the Hummer Bird Study Group dazzle attendees with an unparalleled view as they put tiny leg bands on the birds in order to better track their travels. The tiny numbered bands enable 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. 

 

Expert speakers from across the country will provide presentations on snakes, bats, birds, insects, and plants along with guided walks and wagon rides. A unique host of local artisans will sell nature-inspired crafts.  

 

Native plant and wildlife experts will answer questions about what kind of plants appeal to birds, how to place your feeders for maximum benefits, and why indigenous plants are easier to maintain. A large variety of rare native plants will be for sale. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

Did you know? 

 

  • Hummingbirds are the smallest of all birds, measuring between 2-8 inches. 

     

  • A newborn hummingbird is about the size of a honeybee, their egg, the size of a pea. 

     

  • There are about 340 species of hummingbirds in the world, all in the western hemisphere. 

     

  • Only the ruby-throated hummingbird breeds east of the Mississippi River. 

     

  • This tiny flyer manages to fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico -- 500+ miles. 

     

  • The ruby-throat beats its wings 40-80 times a second and maintains an average flight speed of 30 mph. Escape speeds can reach 50 mph. 

     

  • A hummingbird lives a relatively short life of great intensity (nine years,) while large creatures that move slowly (elephants, whales) live longer (60 years for wild elephant.)

     

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