BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) – The birds are flocking to the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, and so are nature lovers. Volunteers were gearing up Thursday afternoon as hundreds are expected to attend the Hummingbird Migration and Nature Festival in Moss Point.
“This weekend we are going to be banding hummingbirds,” said Kyle Shepard, Banding Coalition of the Americas public relations director. “We have traps set up behind us.”
Shepard is a bander, and he’ll be catching hummingbirds and attaching a light-weight aluminum band with a serial number. The device allows him to track the birds as they travel.
“This bird is ready to go about its merry way,” added Shepard. “With any luck, this bird will make it all the way across the Gulf of Mexico the next couple of days. It will leave here and do a straight flight.”
That flight is normally 16-20 hours, depending on winds and possible storms that pop up in the gulf. This information is what many will be learning during the 3-day event.
“I think the only thing you need to bring is your curiosity and your enthusiasm,” said Pascagoula River Audubon Center education manager Katie Fetzer. “We’ll have seating, picnic tables, and chairs to sit in and watch the performances and entertainment.”
Part of that entertainment features national storyteller and author, Brian “Fox” Ellis.
“John James Audubon, the man who I portray, was the first man to band a bird in North America to prove that they migrate,” said Ellis. “The birds leaving your yard in the fall are the very same birds who will come back and nest next spring.”
This is year four for the festival. It kicked off with a happy hour event Thursday night. Action continues Friday and Saturday at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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