Every year, millions of tiny hummingbirds pass through Texas, pausing to fatten up before making the 20-hour, 800-mile flight across the Gulf of Mexico to their wintering range.
Rockport and Fulton will roll out the welcome mat for the buzzing birds, whose wings flap up to 70 times per second. The 31stannual HummerBird Celebration, set for From Sept. 19-22, will feature tours, banding demonstrations, photography talks, guided field trips, lectures, workshops, outdoor exhibits and vendors.
The sleekly glamorous ruby-throated hummingbirds, which begin their migration from as far away as Canada, get star billing, but other species, including rufous, black-chinned, buff-bellied and Allen’s hummingbirds, will likely make an appearance, too.
Private residences, dubbed Hummer Homes, will open for early backyard bird viewing the Saturday before the festival. The three-day festival officially kicks off with a free welcome reception at 5 p.m. Sept 19 at Rockport Center for the Arts, 101 S. Austin Street in Rockport, and an opening barbecue dinner at 6:30 p.m. at the Saltwater Pavilion at Rockport.
On Friday, representatives of Sky King Falconry in San Antonio will make a presentation, and Saturday begins with a Hummer Breakfast on the grounds of the History Center of Aransas County, and ends with the keynote presentation from Greg Miller, a world renowned birder portrayed by Jack Black in the movie “The Big Year.”
A WingDing Event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Rockport Country Club Clubhouse, will raise money to rescue and rehabilitate injured and abandoned birds. For more information go to www.windsrescuecenter.com.
In between, a host of activities are planned to celebrate and educate the public about the nimble little birds, which can fly fast, screech to a sudden halt, hover and adjust their position up or down like nature’s version of a helicopter.
Don’t blame the organizers if the birds don’t appear in force, although they almost always do. In 2014, a front blew through and the hummers failed to show in their usual impressive numbers.
To purchase tickets, volunteer, or get more information about the festival, go to www.rockporthummingbird.com, or contact the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce at 361-729-6445. Tickets may also be purchased onsite at the Martha Luigi Auditorium Box Office, 1803 Omohundro Street in Rockport.