On a rainy day

in February…

Anna’s Hummingbird

bathed along the down-spout…

As winter rain waters

came smoothly streaming out.

9 thoughts on “On a rainy day
  1. I just found another source- The Hummingbird Book, by Donald Stokes- and purchased it from iBooks. Here’s some more info that elaborates upon what we already found out. I’m cutting and pasting… Be prepared to become an expert here!!!

    “Who Was Anna?

    In France, in the early 1800s, there lived a nobleman by the name and title of Prince Francois Victor Massena who was intensely interested in natural history. One of his favorite hobbies was collecting specimens of birds and, in fact, in all of Europe he had one of the largest private collections of stuffed birds, many of which were hummingbirds gathered from North and South America.”
    “Francois’s wife was the lovely Anna de Belle Massena. John James Audubon, whom the prince introduced to French society and from whom he bought a Birds of America portfolio, later commented in his writings on what a beautiful woman she was.
    Therefore, it was fitting that Rene P. Lesson, another French naturalist living at the time, would name one of the hummingbirds in the prince’s collection Anna’s hummingbird, in honor of the prince’s wife.

    The “Type Specimen”

    For every species of bird there exists one actual specimen in a museum on which the first scientific description of the bird was based and to which the scientific name is attached. This is called the “type specimen.” This is an important element in the scientific description of new species, for it enables any other scientists who think they have found a new species to compare it with the original specimen.
    The specimen used to describe the Anna’s hummingbird came from the collection of Francois Victor Massena. This actual bird, or type specimen, was bought in 1846 by the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia along with the rest of the prince’s collection.”

    Excerpts From: Donald Stokes & Lillian Stokes. “The Hummingbird Book.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/fdstv.l

  2. Ken, I’m really glad you asked, and looked this up, too! I’m always up for a research challenge 😉
    Do you know more about the Rivoli? And the importance of Anna Massena, the Duchess??

  3. Pretty interesting, Ken. Can you add to this?

    So, it appears Anna’s Hummingbird was named to honor Anna Massena, Duchess of Rivoli who was married to Francois Victor Massena, 2nd Duke of Rivoli. Interesting thing is that the Duke was an amateur ornithologist. His collection contained 12,500 specimens which eventually found its way to the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences… a place my father took me many times when I was a little girl.

    Rene Lesson, a nineteenth century French surgeon, naturalist, ornithologist, and herpetologist was the one who named this medium-sized hummingbird native to the west coast of North America after the duchess.

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