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Inaugural Festival Celebrates Annual Hummingbird Migration

Courtesy Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary
A male ruby-throated hummingbird in flight.

They're small, quick, and full of color. The ruby-throated hummingbird is beginning its annual migration south to warmer climates, so now's the perfect time to see lots of them."We are beginning to catch birds that have not been here all summer and they're starting to move south," says Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary Resident Manager Carl Wilms. "They spend our winters in Mexico and Central America. It's about a 3,000 mile trip, and they do that twice a year."

The Indiana Audubon is marking the occasion with a Hummingbird celebration Saturday at the sanctuary. Events will include bird hikes, music, children's activities, and various demonstrations, including banding.

"It's very important to do banding because it helps us determine the lifespan of the birds," Wilms says. "Our ideal fantasy is to have another bander in a different part of the country recapture one of our birds and then we can help identify their migration route and how long it takes them to make the trip and items like that."

Wilms' wife, Amy, is a master bander who has banded as many as 612 ruby-throated hummingbirds captured on their front porch in a single season.

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary in Connersville, IN.

Here's the full schedule of events.