The Nature Writers of Texas

The best nature writing from the newspaper, magazine, blog and book authors of the Lone Star State . . .

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hummingbirds, Anyone?
by Ro Wauer

Once again it is that time of year when we can expect millions of hummingbirds to pass through South Texas on their way to their wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America. The most abundant of these is the ruby-throated hummingbird, a species that nests all across the eastern half of North America, including the Golden Crescent. In fall the southbound hummers will often stop to feed at our feeders. These high octane birds need a constant food supply, especially this dry year when the natural sources from flowering plants are at an all time low.

For the last 20 years the Rockport-Fulton area of South Texas has become the best known place in all of North America to enjoy the special treat of the fall hummingbird migration. This year marks the 21st Annual “Hummer/Bird Celebration,” scheduled from September 17 to 20. Although the ruby-throated hummingbird is the star of the show, other probable species seen during this four-day period include the black-chin, rufous, and buff-bellied hummers. Participants can take two-hour bus tours to area homes with lots of feeders. Or participants can take a self-guided hummer trip to various homes on their own.

The Hummer/Bird Celebration will offer a wide assortment of activities this year. Beside the scheduled home visits, participants can attend hummingbird banding demonstrations. Birders also can take morning trips to Hazel Bazemore County Park on Friday, the Fennessey Ranch on Saturday, and Tule Lake and Indian Point on Saturday. Also this year, butterfly programs and field trips will be provided by Ro and Betty Wauer on Friday and Sunday mornings and by David and Jan Dauphin on Saturday morning. Other scheduled talks will include several on hummingbirds, and others on hawk migration, Texas warblers, moths, water in the landscape, and gardening.

Another reason to attend this year’s Hummer/Bird Celebration is to wander through the Rockport High School auditorium where more than 80 vendors offer everything from books to art to binoculars to clothing. Over the years Betty and I, even when we have not been personally involved with the celebration, visit Rockport to spent a few hours among the vendors. It provides a super opportunity to purchase various goodies, including Christmas presents. And just outside the auditorium one can also purchase garden plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

How to get involved? Although anyone can wander among the vendors at no charge, attendance to the talks and field trips can be arranged on site or on the internet at www.rockporthummingbird.com. It also is possible to obtain information about the Celebration by calling the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce at 361-729-6445. We have found that the Hummer/Bird Celebration is one of the best organized and best attending festivals we know.

If you go, be sure to stop and say hello.

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