All The Buzz
Hummingbird & Bees Festival on tap
at Yew Dell Gardens
Birding expert Palmer-Ball Jr., bee expert Nutt to speak
CRESTWOOD, Ky. (August 2016) – Brainard Palmer-Ball Jr., has a reputation as “one of the best birders in the East.” He’ll bring his expertise to Yew Dell Botanical Gardens this month and focus on hummingbirds.
Although he is now retired, Palmer-Ball Jr., 58, worked as a terrestrial zoologist for the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission for 24 years. His job “involved survey work and protection projects for rare mammals, amphibians, birds and mammals,” he said.
Brainard Palmer-Ball Jr. will speak at the Hummingbird Festival.
He is still praised for being the author of “The Kentucky Breeding Bird Atlas,” a work 10 years in the making. The book is the result of a seven-year survey of all birds that nest in the Bluegrass State, complete with photographs of each species. This work summarizes the distribution and abundance of these bird species.
Published in 1996, the atlas was sponsored by the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission and the Nongame Wildlife Program of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources in cooperation with the Kentucky Ornithological Society. “If you should be interested in birds that call Kentucky home, this is your book,” wrote the Bowling Green Daily News.
The Ohio Journal of Science praised it as “a solid contribution to our knowledge of breeding birds in the Commonwealth, from the western foothills of the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River.”
For several years Palmer-Ball Jr. has attended the Hummingbird Festival at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens in Crestwood, Ky. This year he will be “banding hummers or placing small aluminum bands around one leg with unique letter-number combinations to I.D. the bird in case someone else captures it to get its life history info,” he said. This event is always “well attended.”
The Hummingbird & Bees Festival is scheduled from 3-6 p.m. Sunday, Aug, 21, at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, 6220 Old Lagrange Rd. Cost is free with regular admission price and includes tips from local photographer Russ Thompson.
This will be the eighth year for this festival, said Jackie Gulbe, Marketing & Events Director for Yew Dell. “People come from around the region.”
Gulbe said it is “an opportunity for people to learn about hummingbirds and to see the banding process.” She continued, saying, “It is definitely an event for all ages. We will have activities for children, people will learn how to attract hummingbirds and photograph them, and they will also be introduced to bee keeping. They will learn why it is important to keep the bee population happy and thriving and what they can do to help.”
• For more information contact Yew Dell Botanical Gardens at (502) 241-4788.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the number of beehives in the United States has dropped from 4.14 million in 1980 to 2.64 million in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available. According to Claude Nutt, president of the Oldham County Beekeepers Association, most beekeepers lose about one-third of their hives each year.
Nutt describes himself as the “resident” beekeeper at Yew Dell. I have between 10 and 20 beehives on the grounds of Yew Dell. I am interested in promoting Yew Dell, and I enjoy talking about honey bees.”
Nutt, 75, said he has “been beekeeping for over 20 years. During that time I worked full time and now I am retired. I am not a commercial beekeeper, so I do not spend full time beekeeping.”
During the festival he will give 30-minute presentations. “Due to the time constraints, I will just scratch the surface of general topics related to beekeeping,” he said. Nutt will speak about the general importance of honey bees to gardening and the food system, have an empty hive (no bees) and demonstrate how a bee hive works, discuss how to get started in beekeeping and give suggestions on how to help bees without actually having a beehive.
“This will be my second time giving this program,” said Nutt. “It is a fun event for children and adults of all ages.”
Nutt has been a member of the Oldham County Beekeepers Association for the last seven years.
He is a former member of the Kentuckiana Beekeepers Association and a current member of the Kentucky State Beekeepers Association.
A native Kentuckian, Nutt became interested in beekeeping because “it is fun and extremely interesting. Also, honey bees are having a tough time of it, and I wanted to play a part in helping them. I believe in lifelong learning, and beekeeping is a subject that one can never know enough about. And not the least of my reasons, I get honey as a reward for my efforts.”
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