A young male ruby-throated hummingbird hovers in front of a New York ironweed flower in John Baxter’s yard at Bourbonnais.

Daily Journal staff report

Starting in the spring, tiny hummingbirds fly as far as 500 miles nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico in their migration north and then continue until they arrive at the same North American places they have visited in the past.

Then, they stay very busy.

Each one has to visit between 200 and 1,000 flowers per day to survive, depending on the size of the bird and amount of nectar in the flower, according to Ethan Temeles, a professor of biology at Amherst College in Massachusetts.

They are “nature’s miracle,” said John Schaut, chief naturalist for Wild Birds Unlimited Inc. nature shops, which are based in Carmel, Ind. They are only found in the American continents, but are estimated to number in the hundreds of millions.

The Forest Preserve District of Will County will pay its annual tribute to these fascinating birds in the district’s free Hummingbird Festival and Nature Celebration at Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 18.

The center is in the Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve, off Illinois Route 1, between Beecher and Crete. The festival will put the spotlight on hummingbirds and other pollinators.

Lincoln Land Association of Bird Banders and volunteers will catch, band and release hummingbirds, and visitors can adopt one through the association. The bird-banding activity will be sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.

Festival visitors also will be able to participate in free family activities, including slacklining, tree climbing, bike riding, face painting, an interactive LEGO exhibit or a Q&A with local beekeepers hosted by our live bee exhibit.

Come dressed in your best winged costume, make a bird feeder craft or play in Spot’s Clubhouse playground.

Special speakers also are lined up to share wildlife topics, including:

Native Bees of the Region — Laura Rericha, wildlife biologist, Forest Preserves of Cook County, 1 to 2 p.m.

Magic of Monarchs — Suzy Lyttle, interpretive naturalist, Forest Preserve District of Will County, 2 to 2:30 p.m.

Backyard Flower Power — Kate Caldwell, interpretive naturalist, Forest Preserve District of Will County, 2:30 to 3 p.m.

Hummingbird Banding — Lincoln Land Association of Bird Banders, 3 to 5 p.m.

Raffle drawing for milkweed painting created by artist and photographer Don Sala.

Nature-inspired art will be on display.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service to participate in this program should mention their request when registering, or submit a request online no later than 48 hours before the program. For more information, call 708-946-2216.

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