Photos: Inge Curtis

Garden residents in eastern states from April to September they fascinate us, beating wings to a blur as they hover, even trusting us at arm’s reach before flying off, bright as a jewel, straight as a beeline. The only common summer visitor is the Ruby-throated hummer coming to flowerbeds to feed on nectar (love crimson bee-balm), snatch at insects and guzzle at our sugar water feeders.

Inge caught right-hand image of a White-necked Jacobin hummer in Mexico. A larger species of the tropics, it was given a scientific name by a Frenchman called Napoleon (not the Bonaparte) and a common name after the Jacobins for a resemblance I find hard to understand. Members of the Jacobin Club led by Robespierre dressed to distinguish themselves from aristocrats in fancy knee breeches by wearing a red cap and long trousers (sans coulottes).

By Roger Gosden

A British and American scientist specializing in reproduction & embryology whose career spanned from Cambridge to Cornell's Weill Medical College in NYC. He married Lucinda Veeck, the embryologist for the first successful IVF team in America. They retired to Virginia, where he became a master naturalist and writer affiliated with William & Mary.

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