Hummingbirds and hope are the stars at Rockport-Fulton's 30th HummerBird Celebration

Celebrate the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and all fall bird migrants during the 30th Anniversary HummerBird Celebration in Rockport and Fulton, Texas from Sept. 13-16.

A Thursday evening reception at the Rockport Center for the Arts, 106 S. Austin St., kicks off the event, followed by a special 30th Anniversary dinner and presentation from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Drifters RV Resort, Recreation Hall, 4401 TX-35 BUS, Rockport. Texas barbecue, smoked chicken and all the trimmings will be served.

Because of damage from Hurricane Harvey, the high school auditorium will not be open for speakers this year, but the sanctuary of Rockport Church of Christ, 1520 Omohundro St. (walking distance from the high school) will serve as the venue for 2018.

There are many opportunities to get involved in the Hummerbird Celebration. The weekend offers bus, boat and nature tours, photography talks, field trips, lectures, workshops, outdoor exhibits, butterfly exhibit and, of course, Hummer Home tours. The event features more than 60 vendors of bird and nature-related merchandise.

There will be a special breakfast at 8:30 a.m. at the Aransas County History Center, 801 E. Cedar St., and an Aransas Pathways event starting at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 13. Learn more about hummingbirds during the special bird bandings. Master banders for this year are Sue Heath, director of conservation research on the Gulf Coast, and Sumita Prasad, who has been banding for over 17 years.

Keynote Speakers:

Martha McLeod, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, 30th Anniversary Dinner at Drifters RV Resort, 4401 TX-35 BUS, Rockport. “Harvey, Hummingbirds & Hope” An award-winning teacher and youth birding program sponsor, McLeod has been in education for 25 years. Her student birding team competes yearly in the Great Texas Birding Classic achieving top honors. She was recently named “Birder of the Year” by Swarovski Optiks/Bird Watcher's Digest.

Sky Kings Falconry, 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14. "Raptors Revealed" at Rockport Church of Christ sanctuary.
Sky Kings Falconry features hawks, owls, falcons, vultures, parrots and other colorful and interesting animals. The program will focus on natural history, unique traits and the natural abilities of these incredible animals. Sky Kings Falconry is dedicated to the education, and preservation of our planet's wildlife, and employing its natural abilities to correct environmental issues. Birds will be in flight, so arrive early because the doors need to stay closed after the presentation begins.

James Currie, 3:40 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15. "Twenty Hummingbirds to See Before You Die - A Video Journey" at Rockport Church of Christ sanctuary. James Currie, Nikon's Birding Adventures and National Geographic TV host, takes you on a thrilling journey around the new world to explore its diversity of hummingbirds. Count down the top 20 hummingbirds to see on earth and join Currie for this fascinating behind-the-scenes look at these remarkable creatures. Currie will sign copies of his award-winning book, “When Eagles Roar,” after the presentation.

Other featured speakers:

Kathi Borgmann Ph.D., science writer at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Borgmann is an avid birder and nature enthusiast who has been birding for more than 15 years. Program Title: "How to Use and Make the Most of eBird" 3:40 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14; 2:20 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15. Rockport Church of Christ sanctuary.

Greg Lasley, wildlife photographer Greg Lasley’s photographs have been published in over 100 magazines, journals and books. Program Title: “Birds of the Big Bend” 2:20 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14; 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, Rockport Church of Christ sanctuary.

Ben Horstmann serves as the regional interpretive specialist for South Texas State Parks. His addiction to birding was a direct result of moving here and birding with the park staff and volunteers at the parks. Program Title: "A Birding Tour of the Texas State Parks in South Texas" 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 16 at Goose Island State Park.

Bill Lindemann is a native Texan, naturalist and an avid birder for over 50 years. Program Title: "Hummingbird Courtship: Flash! Zoom! Done!" 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14 at Rockport-Fulton Middle School, 1701 Colorado St.; 10:20 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 at Rockport Church of Christ sanctuary.

Jason Loghry will share a presentation about his first (and current) big year in Aransas County. Program Title: "Homecoming Big Year: A Look at Birdwatching in Aransas County - Rockport & Fulton, Texas" 11:40 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14 at Rockport Church of Christ sanctuary; 10:20 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 16 at Rockport-Fulton Middle School Band Hall, 1701 Colorado St.

Glenn Olsen teaches bird identification and nature classes at Rice University’s Continuing Studies Department and at Houston Audubon. Program Title: "Lasagna Gardening for Birds" 3:40 p.m. Thursday Sept. 13 at Rockport Center for the Arts, 106 S. Austin St.; 2:20 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14 at Rockport-Fulton Middle School Band Hall, 1701 Colorado St.

Brent Ortego recently retired from Texas Parks and Wildlife. He primarily worked with conservation of endangered and nongame species. Program Title: "The Hummingbirds of Texas" 3:40 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14; 11:40 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 16. Both in Rockport-Fulton Middle School Band Hall, 1701 Colorado St.

Sid Rucker and Shirley Rucker’s photographs have been published in books, magazines and calendars. They spent five of those years as photographers for Texas Parks and Wildlife book, “Hummingbirds of Texas.” Program Title: "Living, Loving, and Laughing with Hummingbirds" 11:40 a.m. Friday Sept 14; 1 p.m. Saturday Sept. 15. Both in Rockport-Fulton Middle School Band Hall, 1701 Colorado St.

Liz Smith, Ph.D. Most of Smith’s career has been focused on coastal Texas. She has been nationally recognized for receiving the Coastal America Partnership Award for Restoration at Bahia Grande and Protection at Shamrock Island, EPA Award for Environmental Excellence in Wetlands, as well as regionally recognized in receiving the Conservation and Environmental Stewardship Award for Higher Education and Pathways to Success in Science Programs. Program Title: "Wintering Whooping Cranes - Post Hurricane Harvey Recovery" 1 p.m. Friday Sept. 14 at Church of Christ sanctuary; 11:40 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 at Rockport-Fulton Middle School Band Hall, 1701 Colorado St.

Katie Swanson is a stewardship coordinator at the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Program. Title:  "Harvey Impacts to Birding Habitats"10:20 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14 at Church of Christ sanctuary; 10:20 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 at Rockport-Fulton Middle School Band Hall, 1701 Colorado St.

Ernie Schertz is a North Texas native, who moved to South Texas almost 30 years ago. A master gardener, master naturalist and a member of the Native Plant Society of Texas, she received the Conservation & Environmental Stewardship Citizen Volunteer Award from the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation for Native Plant Habitat programs presented throughout the South Texas area. Program Title: "Native Habitat for Hummingbirds" 10:20 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14 at Rockport-Fulton Middle School Band Hall, 1701 Colorado St.

To purchase tickets, volunteer or for more information on activities and events of the 30th Annual HummerBird Celebration, visit www.rockporthummingbird.com or contact the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce at (361) 729-6445.