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2006 Hummingbird Festival

Photo Gallery  Gallery Page 2

Illinois Audubon Society (IAS) Brought Hummingbird Festival to Forest Park Nature Center

The August 26, 2006 festival provided an opportunity to see Ruby-throated Hummingbirds up close and personal during capture and banding.  The  festival was conducted as a family event without an admission charge and visitors were allowed to stay as long as they wished.  Volunteers from Peoria Audubon Society and the Peoria Park District helped operate remote controlled traps, record data and assisted in the banding.  

Vernon Kleen, Master Permit Bander and member of the IAS Board of Directors, captured and banded the birds.   “The hummingbirds were captured by a unique, remote control trapping mechanism, held only long enough to record basic data, then released,” explains Kleen. The purpose of banding is to determine how far into Mexico or Central America the birds go for the winter, where they stop during their travels, how long they live, and whether they come back to the same sites year after year.  Vern reports that birds banded in Illinois have already been found in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The Illinois Audubon Society, sponsor of the Festival, in cooperation with the Peoria Park District and Peoria Audubon Society provided a wealth of information relating to the life and habits of these tiny birds. Participants were able to “adopt” a bird by making a $5 donation to the Illinois Audubon Society’s land acquisition fund; this fund is earmarked for the protection of Illinois wildlife habitat.  The donors received an attractive, signed certificate, and were given the privilege of releasing their adopted bird.  They will be notified if their bird is ever recaptured. 

In the following photo, one of the hummingbird adoptors relishes in the awe inspiring experience of releasing their Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  

Releasing Adopted Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Awe inspiring release of adopted hummingbird

Vernon Kleen carefully let visitors feel the hummingbird heart beat.  Vern explained that the hummingbirds would likely be at 1200 beats per minute.  

Feeling Humingbird heart beat
Feeling heartbeat

Madison McGinnes adopted her hummingbird.  Vernon Kleen carefully shows Madison how to release her adopted hummer back to nature.  
Madison adopts hummingbird

Madison adopts hummingbird

Madison holds hummer for release

Madison holds out her hand to release her adopted hummingbird


Madison's adopted Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Madison's adopted Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  Just before it flew away.

During the banding operations, John Mullen of the Peoria Park District assisted Vernon Kleen, Master Permit Bird Bander.  The captured hummingbirds were briefly transported to the banding table in the pink cloth bags.  Although it rained and misted the morning of the Hummingbird Festival, it did not put a damper on the enthusiasm of the visitors.  

John Mullen assiting Vernon Kleen

Vernon Kleen and John Mullen at the Banding Table

Vernon Kleen, Master Permit Bander showing the crowd a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Kleen holding hummer

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird

John Arington releasing his adopted Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  In the first image, Vern Kleen carefully transfers the hummingbird to John for releasing.

John Arington - 00John Arington - 1John Arington 2

John Arington - 3John Arington 4John Arington 5

John Aringtons adopted hummingbird
Closeup of John Arington's adopted hummingbird

For a printable brochure on hummingbird information:  More information on Hummingbirds.  (pdf)

Forest Park Nature Center is located at 5809 Forest Park Drive, Peoria Heights, Illinois.  For information on traveling to the nature center, please call 309.686.3360.

Established in 1897, the Illinois Audubon Society (IAS) is an independent non-profit organization. Not affiliated with national Audubon, IAS is supported entirely by its statewide membership. The mission of the Illinois Audubon Society is to promote the perpetuation and appreciation of native plants and animals and the habitats that support them.

More 2006 Hummingbird Photos on

Page 2


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