Crowd flocks to Hummingbird Festival in Moss Point

The festival originated in 2019 and last year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19, but now bird lovers are back.
Published: Sep. 25, 2021 at 8:12 PM CDT

*Editor’s note: The video misidentifies the location of the event as Pascagoula. The center is located in Moss Point.

MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) - People flocked to the Pascagoula River Audubon Center for its annual hummingbird festival.

The festival originated in 2019 and last year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19, but now bird lovers are back. The event included food, a large variety of vendors, and South Mississippi artists to showcase their work.

People also got the chance to see a selection of birds ranging from hawks to owls.

Katie Fetzer, education manager of the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, said her smile lit up when she saw how many people came to support the event.

“It’s important to come to these events because it supports our community. Not just our center bringing local awareness to the environment, your local wildlife population, but we also have over 25 vendors here that need your support. It’s a great opportunity to socialize safely and meet new people,” said Fetzer.

However, there weren’t any hummingbirds at the festival on Saturday.

Kyle Shepard, director of public relations of the Banding Coalition of the Americas, said the lack of hummingbirds is due to recent weather conditions along the

“These hummingbirds wait to migrate during really good weather. The last couple of weeks we’ve had terrible weather here along the Gulf Coast,” said Shepard. “A lot of rain, a lot of wind, and a lot of storms, especially out in the gulf. So, most of these birds, as soon as the front came through, they decided it was time to leave. Once they leave here, they have a 600-mile non-stop flight across the gulf.”

Once Shepard can catch a hummingbird, he starts the process of keeping files by placing a band on it with a serial number.

Shepard is a federally licensed bird bander and said he’s been banding birds since he was 12. He explained that the process helps keep new information on the bird updated.

“Banding is important because it tells us a picture of the bird’s life in that moment. It doesn’t really allow us to track it in any way, but if it’s ever caught again after it’s released, then the band number on that bird can be recorded. Then, new information will go to the banding lab, and it adds another snapshot to that bird’s story,” said Shepard.

Shepard stresses that you have to be licensed in order to band a hummingbird. However, if you’re interested in feeding a hummingbird then you can buy a feeder, along with sugar and water.

Copyright 2021 WLOX. All rights reserved.