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Ijams Nature Center celebrates hummingbirds and nature during festival

Organizers said that the festival features two tickets, a General Festival ticket, and a Behind-the-Scenes Bundle. There were also free activities.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Ijams Nature Center celebrated its 11th annual Ijams Hummingbird Festival: Celebration of Wings on August 28 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Organizers said that the festival features two tickets, a General Festival ticket, and a Behind-the-Scenes Bundle. There were also be free activities.

These free activities included live raptor demonstrations, educational materials for parents and families, and a marketplace featuring arts and crafts, plants, gardening décor, access to food and drink, and more on its visitor center plaza.

The General Festival ticket included all speaker sessions, a kids’ area with activities and educational booths and guided nature walks from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children.

The Behind-the-Scenes Bundle had all general festival activities, plus a bird banding appointment, community science opportunities, a chance to meet the Ijams animal ambassadors, and detailed guided hikes.

The bundle activities run from 7 a.m.-12 p.m. to allow attendees to enjoy general festival activities before or after they attend the bird banding demonstration.

Bird banding is scheduled in 30-minute appointments starting at 7 a.m. The last appointment is 11:30 a.m. 

During the banding appointment, Mark Armstrong, a certified master bander, will demonstrate how ruby-throated hummingbirds and other birds are harmlessly captured, weighed, measured, and banded.

When banding is complete, the hummingbird is released to continue its journey across the Gulf of Mexico to wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America. The flight takes about 20 hours in favorable conditions. 

Organizers said that the festival was meant to teach people about how to engage with the natural world around them. 

"I would say not only children, but for adults, it is delightful," said Cindy Hassil, the development director at Ijams. "They love seeing the animals, they love seeing the hummingbirds, they love learning about the different creatures."

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