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There are some 330 hummingbird species in the world, but across much of south-central and eastern Canada, we see just one. Each spring and summer, the ruby-throated hummingbird, as if through some rare serendipity, arrives in our backyards and at our cottages after a mammoth migration from its Central American wintering grounds. One of the tiniest warm-blooded animals, the hummer must fuel a metabolism that runs at 40 degrees C, a heart that pumps up to 1,260 beats per minute and wings that whirr 50 and 200 times a second. To do so, this little bird eats half its weight each day, whizzing around from plant to plant at speeds that would break your city’s speed limit.
On the weekend of July 12-14, you can learn more about this efficient little flying machine at the Ontario Hummingbird Festival. The festival is hosted by the Wye Marsh, a not-for-profit year-round environmental awareness facility located on roughly 1,215 hectares of wetlands, fen and forest in Midland, Ont., near Georgian Bay. With canoe/kayak routes, trails, an observation tower and boardwalks, the facility is built to bring visitors and nature together. There’s even a residential facility for those who want to plan an overnight visit.
The festival features bird-banding workshops and tutorials with hummer expert Bob Sargent of the Hummer/Bird Study Group, who also offers guidance on how to attract hummingbirds to your garden. Workshops on photography, birding with children, creating a children’s hummingbird planter as well as kids’ crafts and activities, guided tours and nature walks are also on the agenda. Weekend passes are $25, and workshops are an additional $45. Come out and support one of nature’s smallest wonders.
For more information, visit: www.wyemarsh.com/happening/events.php
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