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On a sunny day in October, I felt a strong need to bury the long-dead hummingbird. We found her four years ago while we were cleaning up the attic rooms in the log cabin. She was clinging to a wire, frozen to death. I brought her down to the shack and for a while and had her perched on a nest on the windowsill, right above all the reference books. I do like my curiosities and it was kind of cool to look at the delicate bird and to notice the colors that didn’t seem to fade. But something about it bothered me and I never felt comfortable about where I should display her. Of course, it was only after I buried her under the juniper tree that I tried to identify which kind of hummingbird this one was. I’m certain that it was female, but I can’t say whether it was an Allen’s or a Rufous Hummingbird. I suppose it doesn’t really matter if I ever figure it out and I should just accept that it’s very difficult to tell the difference between the two. I do know that I did feel better after burying her in a bed of moss under my favorite tree. An hour later I was busy in the garden and heard that familiar whir. A hummingbird hovered near my head for a moment and then moved off, up in the trees. I don’t care about identifying that one either, I was happy just to see it.

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