The HummerBird Celebration Story
Founded in the late 1980s by local part-time resident Betty Baker and Wildlife expert Jesse Grantham and others. Their idea was to create this event as a means of celebrating the spectacular fall migration of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds as they pass through the Rockport-Fulton area on their way south to their winter homes in Mexico and beyond. This magnificent occurrence was first documented by the famous Texas birdwatcher Connie Hagar of Rockport. In 1957, Dr. Harry C. Oberholser, the senior wildlife research biologist in the U. S. Department of the Interior and author of The Bird Life of Texas, wrote Mrs. Hagar regarding her reports of the hummingbird migration through Rockport and called it “one of the most remarkable and unexpected movements in Texas, or anywhere else, for that matter.”
The hummers pause here each fall to prepare for the most arduous leg of their migration. Upon leaving here, they will fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico, an incredible journey of some 800 plus miles. While here, they must eat and eat and eat, increasing their body fat up to 50% which will be used to fuel their continued migration.
“It is our hope community members do their part and put out feeders to help the hummers on their journey. You see, it is the hummers that are truly the stars of our show,” explains Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Diane Probst. Probst continues “we created this event built around a natural resource “the hummingbird” to bring awareness of nature, wildlife, habitat and all birds to our community.” “It is incredible to think how much of an impact this event has had on the community from putting the Rockport-Fulton area “on the map” with a fabulous fall birding migration to the development of more than 35 birding hotspots in the community.”
Hummer Homes located throughout the community provide valuable sources of nectar for the hummingbirds. The yards and gardens are landscaped and maintained year round with plants specifically intended to attract and nourish hummingbirds. Once dubbed a “progressive dinner”, the Hummer Homes are uniquely special. For a specific list of these homes, contact the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center during the month of September.
The event happens every September. It is put together by a committee of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce. It brings in approximately 5,000 people to our community. It happens during an ordinarily slow-economic period.
Legendary Birdwatcher Connie Hagar was the first to get recognition from wildlife officials as to the number of hummingbirds migrating here. She was a self-taught ornithologist who loved the Rockport-Fulton area and its birds.