Thursday, August 27, 2009
‘Outdoors lover’s paradise’
Visit one of Mississippi’s finest nature areas on September 11-13 and see hundreds of ruby-throated hummingbirds as they migrate from Canada through Mississippi to their winter home in Mexico and Central America.
Nature enthusiasts of all ages are invited to Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, an outdoor lover’s paradise in Holly Springs. The center showcases 2,600 acres of magnificent forests, grasslands and native plant gardens, plus the majestic Davis House restored to its 19th century glory.
Visitors to this historic old cotton plantation have a chance to see these tiny titans up close as they pause to fuel up for their non-stop 500-mile flight over the Gulf of Mexico. Renowned experts Bob and Martha Sargent of the Hummer/Bird Study Group will be banding hummingbirds and giving visitors a close-up view and insight on their behavior.
Bird banding is a way to unravel the mysteries of migration. The tiny numbered leg bands enable scientists to determine how far south the birds go for winter, where they stop during their travels, how long they live, and whether they come back to the same sites year after year. At the 2008 festival, over 280 hummingbirds were banded and a bird was recaptured that had been tagged in 2006.
Participants to this great event come from around the Mid-South and this helps support the center’s education and conservation programs, focusing on the Coldwater River Watershed. This year’s festival includes a number of new speakers, including Douglas W. Tallamy, author of “Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants,” and Miyoko Chu, whose new book, “Songbird Journeys: Four Seasons in the Lives of Migratory Birds, “explores the amazing migratory habits of songbirds. Popular returning programs will include the live bat encounter with Rob Mies, president of the Organization for Bat Conservation, guided nature walks, wagon rides and tours of the historic Davis House.
For more information on the 10th annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration events, please visit strawberryplains.audubon.org or call 662-252-1155.
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