Sedona Hummingbird Festival opens Aug. 2

Three days of presentations, special lectures, garden tours, and sunrise breakfasts

Sabine Pool, a citizen of Graz, Austria, placed a red plastic cap of sugar water in her out-stretched hand and attracted a hummingbird. Then she added a favorite hummingbird flower, crocosmia, and had even better success. Photo by Beth Kingsley Hawkins

Sabine Pool, a citizen of Graz, Austria, placed a red plastic cap of sugar water in her out-stretched hand and attracted a hummingbird. Then she added a favorite hummingbird flower, crocosmia, and had even better success. Photo by Beth Kingsley Hawkins

The second annual Sedona Hummingbird Festival will take place Aug. 2-4 at the Sedona Performing Arts Center.

The event is sponsored by the International Hummingbird Society, a nonprofit education and conservation organization formed in 1996 and based in Sedona. The purpose of the festival, in line with the Society's mission, is to teach about hummingbirds and work to protect the endangered species.

The festival is timed to coincide with the presence of large numbers of southbound migrating hummingbirds who pass through Sedona on their way to wintering grounds in southern Mexico, with some coming from as far away as southern Alaska. The influx raises the local hummingbird population hundreds of percent, and increases the number of hummingbird species from two to five. Some local residents report having 500-2,000 hummingbirds every day (based on nectar consumption-there are too many to count manually!).

Attendees come to experience hummingbirds first hand, which they can do by visiting several identified "hummingbird hotspots" with large numbers of hummers (free), by watching individual birds be "banded" with unique identifying anklets for scientific research (free), and by having an early breakfast at a hotspot, watching hummingbirds have their breakfast (ticketed, advance reservations needed).

Attendees come to learn about hummingbirds. At the Performing Arts Center, there will be three days of presentations by world hummingbird experts on a variety of topics: how they are cared for in aviaries, how to attract them, how to garden for them, and efforts to protect endangered hummingbirds (tickets required).

Special presenters include: James Currie (Florida) will be the keynote speaker Saturday morning. Currie, known by his work with National Geographic and Nikon's Birding Adventures, will share a video journey in search of the world's most bizarre hummingbirds.

Dr. Jacques Ducros (France) will describe his experiences breeding hummingbirds in his private hummingbird aviary, one of the few in all of Europe. Michael and Kathi Rock (Wisconsin), experienced presenters well known in the Midwest, will share their knowledge on gardening for hummingbirds. And finally, Dr. Dusti Becker (Ecuador) will be the featured presenter for the Saturday Night Conservation Lecture as she describes her efforts to protect the critically endangered Esmeraldas Woodstar; all ticket proceeds will be donated to direct conservation of the species. Other presenters, their bios, and synopses of their presentations can be found at www.hummingbirdsociety.org/hummingbird-festival.

Learning extends to gardens, first with presentations but also with self-guided Garden Tours to private gardens in the Greater Sedona area.

Of course, attendees come to experience Sedona. No wonder the festival's tagline is "The Most Beautiful Place In America to See Hummingbirds." Located at 4,500 feet, Sedona largely escapes the extreme temperatures of southern Arizona. And its "red rock" beauty is known around the world.

Finally, attendees come to meet other hummingbird lovers and create friendships that can last a lifetime.

The second annual Sedona Hummingbird Festival will take place Aug. 2-4 at the Sedona Performing Arts Center, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road, Sedona. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.hummingbirdsociety.org/tickets. For more information, call the Hummingbird Society at 1-800-529-3699 or (928) 284-2251.

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