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Speaker Series: Hummingbirds – From Your Yard to Central America. . .and Back!

June 18, 2022 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Date: June 18, 2022

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Location: Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve

Speaker: Dr. Bill Hilton, Jr.


Ruby-throated hummingbirds are likely the most common hummingbird species in the world, but there is much to be learned about their life history—especially with regard to what they do the six months of the year when they’re not at our feeders and flowers in the Carolinas. Dr. Bill Hilton Jr., principal investigator for “Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project,” is the only scientist studying these hummers on the other end of their migratory path in Central America. During his presentation, Dr. Hilton will share some of the exciting results of his 30-plus citizen science hummingbird expeditions to the Neotropics, followed by time for questions and answers about these amazing little birds that break all the rules.

Dr. Bill Hilton Jr. was twice named South Carolina Science Teacher of the Year and was honored as the state’s Outstanding Biology Teacher. In December 2008 Discover magazine cited him as one of “50 Best Brains in Science” and one of ten top amateur scientists in America. His undergraduate major in philosophy from Newberry College was excellent preparation for his advanced science degrees from Winthrop University and University of Minnesota.

Dr. Hilton is based near York, South Carolina, at Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History (www.hiltonpond.org), a 501(c)(3) non-profit research, education, and conservation organization he founded on family property in 1982 and has served since as Executive Director. An active field researcher, Hilton has banded more than 72,500 birds of 128 species during 41 years just at Hilton Pond. He is one of only about 120 people authorized to capture wild hummingbirds and has banded and released 7,000 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at the Center, with 3,000-plus captured elsewhere. He also investigates other aspects of natural history, from pollination to predation and ecological succession to environmental change.

Dr. Hilton has led more than 260 U.S., Canadian, Swiss, and Costa Rican citizen scientists on 30 Neotropical hummingbird field expeditions to Central America–all as part of his “Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project”(www.rubythroat.org).

“This Week at Hilton Pond,” Dr. Hilton’s on-going series of photo essays about nature phenomena in the Carolina Piedmont, has a large international following; nearly 800 installments are permanently archived on-line.


As of 6/6/22 and until further notice, due to CDC guidelines, Conserving Carolina’s COVID policy states – provided our county’s COVID-19 community level stays in the “medium” to “low” level, determined by the CDC – we are no longer requiring masks indoors, there is no need for proof of vaccination and/or negative test, and we are no longer limiting numbers; however, capacity of the space is 100.  Registration is still required below.

*This is subject to change if our community level increases or something unforeseen occurs with the virus.  Of course, we encourage participants to do what makes them comfortable.

Polk County is currently in the “Low” COVID-19 Community Level and the CDC’s current recommendations are:


*Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.


Contact Pam Torlina, [email protected], with questions or for more information.


June 18, 2022
10:30 am - 12:00 pm
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Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve
179 Wood Thrush Lane
Mill Spring, NC 28756 United States
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