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Hummingbird Festival In Mecklenburg County 11 Years Running

The eleventh annual Hummingbird Festival was Saturday at Reedy Creek Nature Preserve in east Charlotte. Visitors saw craft vendors, food trucks and — what they came for — hummingbirds.

Susan Campbell has been at the festival every year and is the lead hummingbird researcher at the Museum of Natural Sciences in North Carolina.

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Credit Cole del Charco / WFAE
Susan Campbell examines a hummingbird's beak.

"We're going to let this guy go so we can move onto our next hummingbird," Campbell said as she handed it over to a visitor to release back to the wild. After examining and weighing the hummingbirds, she put a white dot of paint on their foreheads so they don't accidentally catch the same bird twice in one day.

Two of the men responsible for catching the hummingbirds are Henry Young and Keith Camber. They set up a hummingbird feeder inside a cage and  looped a string to the door. Once a hummingbird entered the cage to feed, they caught it by closing the door and carefully put it in a breathable bag to carry it down to the pavillion Campbell worked in.

"Yeah this has been a pretty busy day, we've had, you said 13? 13 catches, that's terrific," Young said. "There's one now. Alright. Good luck."

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Credit Cole del Charco / WFAE
Hummingbirds that have been caught and bagged wait their turn for measurement.

In addition to all the hummingbirds, there were bird viewing hikes throughout the day led by Lenny Lampel.

"We can't bring you to a beautiful nature preserve like this and not have a chance to get out into it a little bit," Lampel said.

One woman attending the festival, Sherry Durrell, said she's always meant to go out to bird watching hikes near her neighborhood, but hasn't gone on one until now. Her mother was really into birdwatching.

"You have horse whisperers, and dog whisperers, and there's bird whisperers, you know?" Durrell said. "It's just people who have that inner peace and the birds just kind of know it. I don't have that calming inner peace — I'm too high strung."