ROCKPORT, TEXAS — Celebrate the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and all fall migrants at the 31st Annual HummerBird Celebration in Rockport and Fulton, Texas, Thursday - Sunday September 19-22.
At 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, attendees will be treated to a Welcome Reception at the Rockport Center for the Arts building located at 101 S. Austin St. in Downtown Rockport. It is free to all attendees. It features wine, cheese, fine art and information on the event. The opening dinner will be a Texas Style Barbecue at the newly remodeled Saltwater Pavilion of Rockport Beach from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. This is a ticketed event.
Over the three-day event period, event attendees have an array of activities to experience. The choices include: guided bus trips to see the hummingbirds, boat and nature tours, photography talks, field trips guided by experts, lectures from world renowned speakers, workshops, outdoor exhibits and two Hummer Malls filled with vendors marketing nature-related products.
Each day is filled with something special such as the Opening Texas Barbecue Dinner on Thursday, Sept. 19, featuring local birder of the year Martha McLeod and Niharika Raiput, a wildlife and conservation artist from New Delhi, India. Friday's highlight is the live bird talk given by representatives from Sky King Falconry out of San Antonio. Saturday begins with a unique 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 whose character was played by Hollywood actor, Jack Black in the movie "The Big Year".
Throughout the weekend at special times indicated in the event program, a banding demonstration will take place with Master Bander Sumita Prasad, who has been banding and recording valuable information about hummingbirds for nearly 20 years. There are three photography workshops this year where local photographers offer their talents and information on photographing birds. Another highlight for this year is a paper and wire bird making workshop where attendees will learn preservation through art.
Since its inception in 1988, the HummerBird Celebration has continuously added new and exciting activities to the event. Over the last couple of years, it has spawned related events from other organizations which allow attendees to enjoy an even greater array of experiences.
Aransas Pathways, an organization that promotes, birding, history, kayaking and hike and bike trails, has put together an early event to intrigue festival goers to find their best poker hand by encouraging them to visit birding sites around the community collecting cards. The winner will receive a pair of Eagle Optics Kingbird 6.5 x 32 Binoculars. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Aransas Pathways Pavilion, just off of Hwy 35 at the northern entrance to Walmart.
All Aransas Pathways sites are open and free to the public. Another event for early birds are a number of Hummer Homes which open up to the public and will be made available for early viewing of their backyards Saturday prior to the event. Inquire at the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center for that list of homes.
Also new this year is the WingDing Event highlighted on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (5:30 p.m. Cash Bar) at the Rockport Country Club Clubhouse located at 101 Champions Drive in Rockport. Tickets are $50 or tables of 10 are $400 and can be purchased online at www.windsrescuecenter.com.
The annual WingDing supports Wings Rescue Center’s efforts to rescue and rehabilitate injured birds and to rescue and raise abandoned baby birds. Since 2016, Wings Rescue Center has rescued over 700 birds, and released many of them back to nature. Wings Rescue Center is a local non-profit organization and is totally volunteer-driven with all funds used for expenses of rescue, rehabilitation and release.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department naturalist and expert birder Ben Horstmann will give a presentation 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 22 on "Birding Texas State Parks in South Texas" followed by a unique bird walk to go look for those birds. This event is ticketed and will begin in the historic CCC building of Goose Island State Park. This building, one of the shelters in more than 800 parks nationwide, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was a work relief program after the Great Depression of the 1930s.
A new feature this year will be an "Art for Wildlife Conservation" initiative. The workshops, titled CHIRRUPS: Paper and Wire Bird Making" are hand-building sessions where one can learn how to create miniature 3D models of birds using epoxy, paper and wire. It will be offered both Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Niharika Rajput, a conservation artist direct from New Delhi, India, will lead the workshops.
This 31st HummerBird Celebration is an event that showcases the communities of Rockport and Fulton’s commitment to birding with a tribute to the Ruby-throated hummingbird, and all migrant and resident birds of the area. To purchase tickets, volunteer, or find out more information on activities and events, please visit www.rockporthummingbird.com or contact the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce at 361-729-6445. Tickets may also be purchased onsite at the event at the Martha Luigi Auditorium Box Office, 1803 Omohundro St. Rockport, TX.