HUMMINGBIRDS TAKE CENTER STAGE

Love hummingbirds?  You’re not alone.

These amazing feathered acrobats have been the subjects of several festivals and events across Tennessee this summer, including the Wonder of Hummingbirds Festival (WOH) at the Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville and Nashville’s Warner Parks Nature Center hummingbird banding project, both of which are supported by TWF.

The WOH festival, held Saturday, Aug. 23, featured dozens of birding and wildlife-related vendors, including TWF, a gold-level sponsor, that was represented by East Tennessee Development Officer Cameron Mitchell.  Mitchell says that despite the hot weather, bird enthusiasts flocked to the event.

“It was an impressive festival,” says Mitchell, pictured right.  “There was all kinds amazing birding-related crafts and vendors, and as a long-time birder, I was like a kid in a candy store.  I was able to visit with dozens of fantastic people and talk about the work of TWF, which is serious in its support of birding organizations and events.”

IFMitchell adds that he sees the potential of similar events in other major cities in Tennessee.

“After seeing first-hand the example set by Wonders of Hummingbirds, I’m convinced that this model should be duplicated elsewhere,” he says.  “There are bird lovers in every corner of our state, and I’d love to see all of them have a chance to attend an event like this in their communities.”

Warner Parks held their annual hummingbird banding event Wednesday, Aug. 27, which was attended by TWF Communications Coordinator Kate Hill.  Although the birds were scarce that day, attendees were able to watch the process of several hummers being caught and banded by Nature Center staff.

“It was a fascinating thing to watch,” says Kate.  “Hummingbirds are one of those natural ‘gems’ that a lot of people just don’t know about.  I sure learned a lot!”

The banding is timed to be completed before the hummer’s migration.  Within weeks, in mid-September, ruby-throated hummingbirds will begin their southern trip to Southern Mexico and Northern Panama, including an amazing 22-hour non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico.  They will return to Central Florida and Southern Texas in February and continue north to their summer destinations.

Check out this Tennessee’s Wild Side feature about the 2013 Wonder of Hummingbirds festival.