Ruby-throated Hummingbird

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Photos by Mark Seth Lender
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A Route of Evanescence, (1489)

A Route of Evanescence,
With a revolving Wheel –
A Resonance of Emerald
A Rush of Cochineal –
And every Blossom on the Bush
Adjusts it's tumbled Head –
The Mail from Tunis – probably,
An easy Morning's Ride –
A Route of Evanescence,
With a revolving Wheel –
A Resonance of Emerald
A Rush of Cochineal –
And every Blossom on the Bush
Adjusts it's tumbled Head –
The Mail from Tunis – probably,
An easy Morning's Ride –

—Emily Dickinson (1830-86) 



Field Note

The first thing I noticed was the sound, then the blur - a huge bee zooming past – too close! I ducked. And only on my way back up did I see Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and that the bee was she. Hummingbird was engrossed, her long tongue reaching for the well of nectar in the tiny heart of a cluster of trumpet-shaped flowers. Red, because it is the longest wavelength and therefore visible at a distance, is the best color for attracting hummingbirds. But when the shape is right and the nectar sweet, pink, or white, or lemony yellow will also do the trick.  

Mark Seth Lender


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Poem is from The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R. W. Franklin, (Harvard University Press, 1999).