Land Between The Lakes Prepares For Massive Influx Of Migrating Hummingbirds

Jul 25, 2018

Hummingbirds are a native species all across the U.S., but it’s only in August that thousands more of them stop by west Kentucky during their migration down to Central America. Land Between the Lakes is preparing to celebrate their arrival. 

There are dozens of hummingbirds swarming the garden at the LBL Nature Station, but Interpretive Naturalist Arrianne Byrum said it’s nearing the time of year where thousands more will be in the area.

“We see a dramatic rise in their numbers at the very beginning of August. So we get about 250 hummingbirds a day here,” Byrum said. 

Byrum said the hummingbirds make the stop while on their way down to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

Nature Station Lead Naturalist John Pollpeter said many birds choose to migrate through LBL, because it’s close to the Mississippi Flyway-- where the Mississippi River acts as a interstate for birds flying south.

At the annual Hummingbird Festival, now in its 22nd year, naturalists will demonstrate how they monitor the birds. Byrum said banding helps scientists track migration patterns and life expectancy.

“We had a hummingbird that was banded here five years ago that was recaptured, so they can get a lot of data from that,” Byrum said.  

Certified bird-bander and biologist Brainard Palmer-Ball banding a hummingbird while a young visitor learns from him.
Credit Nature Station Staff Photo

The festival includes arts and crafts and other nature-related activities- including how to help Monarch Butterflies on their migration route.

The Hummingbird Festival is August 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. and August 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Nature Station in LBL. Admission fees are $7 for ages 13 and up, $5 for ages 5-12 and come at no cost to children ages four and under.

See more about the Hummingbird Festival and their ‘Dinner With The Hummingbirds’ at the Nature Station’s event page.