HummerBird Celebration in Rockport Goes Virtual This Year
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HummerBird Celebration in Rockport Goes Virtual This Year

Another popular Texas festival, Rockport’s HummerBird Celebration, falls victim to Covid-19. The September 17-20 HummerBird event that draws bird watchers to Aransas Bay each fall is going virtual for 2020. The virtual event features speakers and banding demonstrations, Hummer Home tours, a photography class, and vendor auctions.

Melody Waggoner, Chair of the 32nd Annual HummerBird Celebration, said, “Our staff and committee have worked diligently to modify the event and to make the HummerBird Celebration available via the Zoom video conferencing platform. We will maintain the quality programming patrons have come to expect. In an effort to keep everyone safe, we believe it is best to do an all virtual event this year, in view of the steadily increasing number of COVID-19 cases throughout Texas. It was a very difficult decision, but one that we felt was necessary given the circumstances.”

HummerBird Celebration Since 1988

HummerBird Celebration in Rockport Goes Virtual This Year

Photo: Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce

The HummerBird Celebration was founded in the late 1980s by part-time resident Betty Baker, Wildlife expert Jesse Grantham, and others. They created an event celebrating the spectacular fall migration of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. The tiny birds pass through the Rockport-Fulton area as they head south to their winter homes in Mexico and beyond.

Famous Texas birdwatcher Connie Hagar of Rockport first documented this magnificent migration. The hummingbirds pause here as they prepare for the most arduous leg of their migration. After leaving Rockport, they fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico, an incredible journey of some 800 plus miles.

While in Rockport, they must eat enough to increase their body fat up to 50% to fuel their continued migration. In 1995, Texas Parks and Wildlife Officials observed Rockport’s Hummer Homesites, and later created the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. They unveiled the first sign of site #50 at the Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary.

Funding Aransas Pathways

HummerBird Celebration in Rockport Goes Virtual This Year

Photo: Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce

In 2011, a local venue tax was allowed to fund Aransas Pathways. That project creates, protects, and maintains birding plus history, kayak, bike, and hike sites and trails throughout the county. The HummerBird Celebration has created an important footprint for Aransas County.

Since its inaugural fall event in 1988, the HummerBird Celebration has grown to one of the largest and most celebrated annual birding events in the U.S. More than 3,000 attend from all over the United States, with some international participants each year.

The virtual HummerBird Celebration features six speaker programs-lectures, for an All Virtual Pass fee of $20. A series of add-ons are available as well. Zoom links will be sent the week of the event. The 32nd Annual HummerBird Celebration T-Shirt and other items are available for purchase on the site. An auction link with selected vendor items will be released closer to the event. To access your Virtual All-Festival Pass, visit rockport-fulton.org and click events.

The Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce was recently awarded a 5-star rating by the US Chamber of Commerce for the third consecutive time. For more information, visit rockport-fulton.org.

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Written by Jo Ann Holt

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