Strawberry Plains Celebrates Hummingbird Migration

ruby-throated HB male
Bill Stripling
Published: Aug 12, 2012
Holly Springs MS - 
From September 7-9, the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, MS, will host the Hummingbird Migration Celebration & Nature Festival.  This award winning festival treats thousands of guests to 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 the perfect site for these tiny titans to stop and refuel before the grueling non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico.  Feeders and an abundance of native plants that provide nectar and insects help the hummingbirds pack on the required weight for the 22-hour Gulf crossing.  This setting around the historic Davis House plantation and gardens make this nature celebration a majestic experience.

These birds, traveling up to 2,500 miles each fall, delight us in our 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."

Visitors can see hummingbirds from inside the antebellum Davis House, as they 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 amaze attendees with an unparallel view as they put tiny leg bands on the birds in order to better track their travels. 

Expert speakers from across the country will provide presentations on snakes, bats, birds and insects, and plants along with guided walks and wagon rides.  Gardeners and wildlife enthusiasts alike will not want to miss Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home:  How to Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants.  A unique host of local artisans will be selling nature-inspired crafts. 

Visitors can enjoy this natural and historic place in many ways.  Bubba Hubbard, Director of Strawberry Plains Audubon, says "Don't miss this amazing gathering of naturalists, experts and thousands of guests as they celebrate and learn how nature benefits all our lives.  There's something for all ages and most importantly, you'll feel the spirit of nature restored on this old historic cotton plantation."

Native plant and wildlife experts will be answering 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 at the festival.

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 http://strawberryplains.audubon.org or call 662-252-1155. 

 

Strawberry Plains Audubon Center works with landowners to develop habitat management plans that will help future generations enjoy the economic and social benefits that clean water and a natural environment provide. Strawberry Plains is committed to providing education to students of all ages.  In a watershed facing rapid development, future generations will inherit sufficient clean water, native wildlife populations and a legacy of stewardship.

 HUMMINGBIRD FACTS

  • 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.
  • While nearly all Ruby-throated Hummingbirds fly south of Mississippi for the winter, 10 other species can been seen in the region during winter. Leave at least one feeder out.
  • Hummingbirds are the only species of birds that can truly fly backwards.
  • Igor Sikorsky considered the exceptional hovering ability of hummingbirds when developing his pioneering designs for helicopters.
  • Hovering is the most expensive form of flight because of the energy consumed. A hummingbird has the highest measured rate of aerobic metabolism of any living thing.
  • Birds of all sizes have a better respiratory system than people, because oxygen runs through their entire system of auxiliary air sacs and can enter and exit even by their toes.
  • Hummingbird body temperatureranges from105deg- 108degF
  • A hummingbird lives a relatively short life of great intensity (9 years,) while large creatures that move slowly (elephants, whales) live longer (60 years for wild elephant.)
  • Eighty percent (80%) of all birds, including hummers, will not live to see their first birthday.

See video http://youtu.be/wzI_KnixQ2E

Hummingbird article in Audubon Magazine: http://audubonmagazine.org/features0410/heartbeat.html

CONTACT Andrea Schuhmann, Outreach Director aschuhmann@audubon.org

Photos for media use

 

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The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

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