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Annual Hummingbird Festival returns to Land Between The Lakes’ Woodlands Nature Station

Sadie Armin Begtrup of Nashville, Tenn., prepares to release a hummingbird after it was banded at the annual USDA Forest Service Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area Hummingbird Festival Aug. 5-7, 2011.

Sadie Armin Begtrup of Nashville, Tenn., prepares to release a hummingbird after it was banded at the annual USDA Forest Service Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area Hummingbird Festival Aug. 5-7, 2011.

More than 1,300 people gathered at the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area in Golden Pond, Ky., during the annual Hummingbird Festival, where they learned about the ruby-throated variety and how to help them survive the long migration from the eastern U.S. and southern Canada to Mexico and Central America.

“Hummingbird migration in this area is at its peak in August,” said Carried Szwed, an interpreter for the Woodlands Nature Station. “A large number of hummingbirds stop here on their journey south to Mexico and Central America. During this time, up to 200 hummingbirds visit our feeders in a single day.”

Highlights of the weekend included hummingbird banding demonstrations, nature photography program, native plant sale, honeybee observation hive, and games for children

Sadie Armin Begtrup of Nashville, Tenn., watches Brainard Palmer-Ball Jr. band a hummingbird at the annual USDA Forest Service Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area Hummingbird Festival Aug. 5-7, 2011. More than 1,300 people attended the weekend event and 100 hummingbirds were banded..

Sadie Armin Begtrup of Nashville, Tenn., watches Brainard Palmer-Ball Jr. band a hummingbird at the annual USDA Forest Service Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area Hummingbird Festival Aug. 5-7, 2011. More than 1,300 people attended the weekend event and 100 hummingbirds were banded..

Brainard Palmer-Ball Jr. and Mark Monroe, local hummingbird banders, gave demonstrations throughout the day on the technique of bird banding. Banding is a way of identifying and tracking individual birds.

If a hummingbird is recaptured at another study site along its migration route, the leg band number is recorded and added to a database. Biologists can then look at all the data collected over the years for clues about the habits of these tiny birds and how best to meet their habitat needs.

People who live in the migratory path of the ruby-throated hummingbirds can help by planting flowers that are tubular and have petals that are curved away, allowing them access to the nectar. Hummingbirds prefer red, yellow and orange flowers.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds, the only hummingbird species in the eastern U.S., are well recognized as nectar feeders, but they also eat spiders and tiny insects such as flies, gnats and aphids as a source of fat and protein and help to double their weight before crossing the Gulf of Mexico. These tiny birds can fly up to 500 miles in less than a day. Not bad for a bird that averages 3.5 inches long and weighs roughly one-eighth ounce.

Hummingbirds are among more than 2,000 species of birds that feed on the nectar and are ideal pollinators for wildflowers. Help these tiny workers by putting up feeders available at most gardening centers or design your own with sugar water and recycled materials from your home.

Land Between The Lakes is managed by the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, in partnership with “Friends of LBL,” to provide public lands outdoor recreation and environmental education.

Ruby throated hummingbird.

Ruby throated hummingbird.

2 Responses to “Annual Hummingbird Festival returns to Land Between The Lakes’ Woodlands Nature Station”

  1. Mariano says:

    I like that the hummingbirds are banded for research. But how are they caught? Do you set a trap-like cage and do they get frightened and try to escape? If so there is a chance that they will get hurt somehow, right?
    http://hummingbirdsfacts.com/

  2. Sharon Waltrip says:

    Mist nets or a cage around the feeder. Over the past 16 years of doing this, only 1 hummer was injured of the over 1600 captured and banded.

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