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Peoria Hummingbird Festival

Photo Gallery

August 25, 2007

The Peoria Audubon Society jointly hosted the 2007 Peoria Hummingbird Festival with the Illinois Audubon Society and the Peoria Park District.  By the 9:00 start time at Forest Park Nature Center, people were already streaming in -- anxious to see these remarkable little creatures.  For a small donation ($5.00+ suggested) to the Illinois Audubon land acquisition fund, participants could "adopt" a hummingbird.  After capture, the birds were measured; then banded; then released by the adoptee.  In the following photo, you can see the awe inspiring release of their adopted hummingbird.

According to Vernon Kleen, one of the few people registered to band hummingbirds, the purpose of banding is to scientifically help determine the birds longevity, migration patterns, and develop a picture of the overall health of a population.  If a banded hummingbird is caught again, the "adoptive parents" will receive a letter showing when and where their hummingbird was caught. 

Release of an "adopted" hummingbird - just before flight

Close-up of the "adopted" hummingbird

Note that the hummingbirds are not harmed by this process.  To conserve energy the birds enter a "trance-like" state.  Vernon is the only one that is allowed to handle the hummingbirds.  After the birds are measured and banded, Vern carefully places the bird in the hand of the "adoptive parent" for release.  Then, if the bird does not fly away immediately, Vern taps the person's hand in an upward move and the birds fly away.  

John Mullen facilitates "Adopt-a-Bird"

John Mullen of the Peoria Park District assisted people with the Illinois Audubon "Adopt-a-Bird" program by providing planning, logistics, and working with the participants as they came in. 

The hummingbirds were captured by setting up a trap around a hummingbird feeder that the hummingbirds had grown accustomed.

Hummingbird feeder in trap.  Hummingbird caught in net in trap. 

Harold & Verena Crabtree holding remote control to close trap door.

At the event, when a request for volunteers to assist went out, Harold & Verena Crabtree came forward to patiently watch the hummingbird traps and push the remote control to close the door.  Harold said that it reminded him of the patience needed for fishing.   

Waiting and watching for a hummingbird to visit one of the two traps

Vernon Kleen discussing hummingbirds with the crowd.

While we were waiting for the first hummingbird to be trapped, Vern provided a wealth of information and answered questions with the crowd on all things about hummingbirds. 

  Vern showing band (partial view) on hummingbird's leg

Feeling heartbeat of hummingbird

After examination, taking measurements, and banding the hummingbird, Vern allowed participants to feel the heartbeat at 1200 beats per minute.  Then, he carefully placed the hummingbird in the hand of an "adoptive parent." for releasing back to the wild.

Angie, releasing hummingbird for her bashful daughter

Angie allowed her daughter, Zoe, to adopt a hummingbird.  But, Zoe was just a little bashful.  So, Zoe's mom released the hummingbird back to the wild. 

Zoe looking at her adopted hummingbird

Zoe's adopted hummingbird

Gentle upward tap from Vern Kleen and hummingbird flies away

A gentle tap from Vern Kleen, and the hummingbird is "launched" back into the air and flies away.

The Peoria Audubon Society wishes to thank the Peoria Park District, the Illinois Audubon Society and all the volunteers that helped! 

Photos are courtesy of Dennis, humble webmaster for Peoria Audubon Society

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