Over the past few years, the residents of Bishop Hill have worked to make the entire town a bird friendly town. Their annual Hummingbird Festival on August 13th and 14th is a celebration of birds, butterflies and pollinator gardening. They have several new programs, including a bluebird trail building workshop, a prairie walk and a humorous presentation on the relationships between t-rexs, wild turkeys and ruby-throated hummingbirds. There will also be a few old favorite programs, storytelling and music.

With games, hands-on crafts, great music, hummingbird folklore, two morning bird walks, bird banding, and an evening dinner theatre, there truly is something for everyone. The main events will be at The Commons at 309 North Bishop Hill Road, but there will be plenty of activities, and hummingbirds, all over town.

On Saturday at 5:30 p.m., The Commons is partnering with PL Johnson’s to create a dinner theater experience, “Adventures with John James Audubon.” Brian “Fox” Ellis will play Audubon in this mix of storytelling, comedy and science to celebrate the beauty of the ruby throated hummingbird. Audubon’s art hangs in the finest museums in the world and will be on display before and after dinner. Reservations are required for the dinner theater and can be made by calling 309-696-1017.

The children’s program is a scavenger hunt that starts with the making of a hummingbird at The Commons. Kids then have to find to find flowers from all three seasons all around town and then make their own flowers at VASA and the Methodist Church to succeed in their annual migration north to south and back again. There will be prizes for those who complete the migration successfully.

A guided bird walk takes place both mornings from 8 -10 a.m. starting at the Twinflower Inn and Fox will be your guide. He has spotted more than 100 species in and around Bishop Hill and can promise a few good looks at several birds. Visitors can bring binoculars and extras will be provided. The hike ends in the prairie on the east end of town, near the cemetery, where professional ornithologists Travis Wilcox from Milliken University will be netting and banding birds as part of an ongoing scientific study on bird migration. Guests can visit the bird banding station to learn more and to see local songbirds up close and personal before they are safely released. 

8 am Bird Watching Hike w/ Fox Starts at The Twinflower Inn

9-12:00 pm Songbird Banding in the Prairie w/ Travis Wilcoxen

12:00 – 4:00 Hummingbird Crafts for Kids at several stations all around town including VASA, the Methodist Church and The Commons

1:00 “It’s not just for the birds” A talk on bird banding w/ Travis Wilcoxen

1:00 A Prairie Wildflower Walk w/ Brad Schwamberger

2:30 T-Rex, Turkeys and Hummingbirds w/ Brad Schwamberger

3:00 Hummingbird Tales: Storytelling w/ Brian “Fox” Ellis

3:30 Music w/ Cami Proctor from the Blank Stairs

5:30 Dinner Theater w/ John James Audubon

Sunday August 14th

8:00 am Bird Watching Hike w/ Fox starts at The Twinflower Inn

12:00 – 4:00 pm Hummingbird Crafts for Kids at Several Stations Around Town

12:00 A Prairie Wildflower Walk w/ Brad Schwamberger

1:00 T-Rex, Turkeys and Hummingbirds w/ Brad Schwamberger

1:30 Building Better Bluebird Trails w/ Herb Unkrich

2:00 Music w/ Emily the Band

3:00 Hummingbird Tales: Storytelling w/ Brian “Fox” Ellis

For more information call 309-696-1017 or visit the Commons’ Facebook page by clicking here.