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Hummingbird Festival
By Jerrold VanNocker
A delightful surprise

“Do you want to go to the Hummingbird Festival in Colon tomorrow?” my wife asks.

Colon is a small Michigan village located a few miles south of Battle Creek. Labeled  “the magic capital of the World”, it is best known for its annual magic convention and being the town where the magician, Harry Blackstone Sr, lived much of his life.  The village name seems to generate lively conversation too.

“Ah… what goes on at a hummingbird festival?” I ask in response to her question.  “Well, it is held at this nice restaurant, but the main restaurant will be closed, and they will be banding hummingbirds”.  “Oh”, I reply.

Saturday morning is pleasantly sunny. My wife and daughter seem impatient with my slowness this morning. I mean, we are going to a little old festival in Colon, why the rush.

hummingbird released after banding

The Hummingbird Festival is held in August at the River Lake Inn, just outside Colon, Michigan. The above photo shows a just banded female hummingbird being released.

Arriving at the River Lake Inn Restaurant where the Hummingbird Festival is held, I grab my camera but leave my camera bag with the telephoto lens behind.

Bypassing the art booths for the moment, we proceed to the humming bird capturing and banding area. I look over the shoulders and heads of a group listening to a man talking about hummingbirds.  ...“The resting heart beat of a hummingbird is 300 beats per minutes, in flight the birds heart beat is 500-600 beats per minute”.... Pinched carefully between the presenter's fingers is a hummingbird, I can barely see the small head. As people around me ask questions, I think to myself, “I need to go back for the long telephoto lens, this is kind of cool!”

Time for the release, the presenter lays the bird within the flat hand of a volunteer.  Motionless, the bird almost appears dead. Then, in an instant, it is gone. Many today will go home with a nice photo of the volunteer’s palm; these birds are quick. I head back to the car for the long telephoto lens; I’m actually enjoying this, we should have come earlier!

The Hummingbird Festival is not all about hummingbirds - Go to page 2 of the Hummingbird Festival

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