Submitted by Randall Kinzie, Iterim Director,
Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce
The 2016 Davis Mountains Hummingbird Celebration sponsored by the Fort Davis Chamber is preparing to show-off its treasure of hummingbirds to regional and out-of-town birders. The celebration’s goal is to provide a variety of hummingbird experiences by focusing on the region’s amazing hummingbird diversity. Celebration participants will experience hummingbirds on fieldtrips, banding demonstrations, expert talks and colorful programs over two and one-half days. Participants could potentially see up to nine (9) hummingbird species during the event.
The program opens at the Limpia Hotel on Thursday with an afternoon program at McDonald Observatory feeding stations to demonstrate bird photography in various methods including digi-scoping, i.e. photographing through viewing scopes. A concurrent field trip will go to a private hummingbird garden to watch hummingbirds at feeding stations. On Friday and Saturday mornings popular banding demonstrations are held at The Nature Conservancies’ Davis Mountains Preserve, and the University of TX McDonald Observatory. A favorite among “hummingbird lovers,” banding offers hummingbird “close-ups” of various species without binoculars, and could provide the chance of releasing a tiny bird from one’s hand.
Workshops on “Gardening for Hummingbirds” and “How to Buy and Correctly Use Hummingbird Feeders” offer essential learning for those who want to attract hummingbirds to their yards. Another highlight of the celebration is seeing hummingbirds you may not see at home feeders such as a field trip to the Christmas Mountains for Lucifer hummingbirds. This bird, usually found in Mexico, has a remarkable de-curved bill; the mature male also has a brilliant red-violet gorget (or throat). Other field trips are scheduled to Miller Ranch for grassland birds, and to Balmorhea Wetlands for water and shorebirds, all led by experts. The Saturday evening banquet of good food and a special musical surprise prepares guests for one of Texas’ finest wildlife/bird photographers describing and showing results from the field.
It all adds up to a great weekend in Fort Davis, and according to Kelly Bryan, hummingbird biologist and bander, this could be a good hummingbird year with a unique desert species in the Davis Mountains. Bryan explains, “With the constant 100-110 temps in the lower desert, there should be a good invasion of Lucifer Hummingbirds up into the mountains soon.” Byan’s work at West Texas Avian Research Inc. has confirmed the amazing diversity of Hummingbirds in the Davis Mountains and West Texas region.
With limited capacity and to insure your place, sign up early. Go to [email protected] for registration forms, or for other information call the Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce at (432)426-3025. Individual program pricing is available for local participants.