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Hummingbird festival this week in Independence

By The Examiner staff

George Owens Nature Park, 1601 S. Speck Road, Independence, is hosting its annual hummingbird festival this week.

It’s from 9 a.m. through sunset Wednesday through Saturday. Naturalists will be present to answer questions during regular working hours. Also, photos of hummingbirds will be available to view.

Hummingbirds are seen in good numbers at this time of year at George Owens Nature Park in Independence. [Submitted photo]

Masks are required of all visitors, inside and outdoors.

This festival is held during September because that is when ruby-throated hummingbirds – either Missouri natives or those that have spent the summer as far away as Canada and Minnesota – fly through this area on their migratory journey to Mexico. They take advantage of the large array of feeders at George Owens, and there is a good opportunity to watch and photograph them.

George Owens Park is also involved in banding hummingbirds. Josh Potter, a certified hummingbird bander, works to band as many of the birds as possible. He catches the birds, places a tiny band on a leg, and records each bird’s weight, measurements, approximate age and sex. He provides all the information he collects to the U.S. Geological Survey, which receives similar data from all over the United States. Gradually, the collection of this data is meant to provide a more detailed idea as to where hummingbirds spend the summer, where they stop on their migration to Mexico, and how they are growing.

A Facebook Live video of Potter banding hummingbirds will be posted on the Facebook page for the city of Independence Parks and Recreation. 

For further information about the festival, call George Owens Park at 816-325-7115.