National Geographic : 1963 Jan
The Santa Teresans are proud of their local son today. Gone is Gutti the vegetable ven dor. Since he acquired international fame for his important work in ornithology and bota ny, they introduce him to out-of-towners as "Dr. Augusto Ruschi, scientist, the man of the hummingbirds." His fame has spread far. In 1956 the Em peror of Japan, a scientist himself, read of the doctor's work and asked the Brazilian Ambassador in Tokyo to obtain copies of Ruschi's publications. Ruschi personally sent the Emperor the technical papers and a gift of a rosewood case in which he had beauti fully mounted 22 Brazilian hummingbirds in natural poses. In 1957 he delivered 24 live birds to Dr. Jose Maria Gargao Caldeira in Estoril, Por tugal, to learn if they could adapt to life in European parks. So far, the birds have lived in a large enclosure, as Dr. Caldeira has stud ied their ability to acclimatize and to derive sustenance from local plants. Tyroleans Flocked to a New Land As we sipped our coffee in the Santa Teresa cafe, I remarked that most of the towns people seemed to have gray or blue eyes and light hair. "Nearly all their grandfathers came from the Austrian or Italian Tyrol," said Ruschi. "Germans, Swiss, and Poles helped give our people their blond look, but they're mostly northern Italian in origin, like myself." Santa Teresa was founded in 1875 by im migrants who came in response to the offer of Emperor Dom Pedro II to give 50 acres to anyone who would settle and work the land. On the 26th of June, 1875, the immigrants drew lots for the land. Antonio Roatti, an Austrian, drew the land on which Dr. Ruschi's museum stands today. At the hour of the Angelus on that day, a woman placed a small image of Saint The resa in the hollow of a great tree, saying, "This place shall be called Santa Teresa." Roatti married the namer of the new town, and one of their daughters later wed a Jose Ruschi. One of the sixteen children of this marriage was Augusto Ruschi. Under the shoulder of a forest-clad hill at the edge of town stands the Professor Mello Leitao Museum of Biology. We passed into the grounds through the cool shade of an avenue of great eucalyptus trees and royal palms planted by Ruschi's father. Actually the museum is a biological station. Half a dozen pavilions scattered about the KODACHROMEBY JAMES BLAIR © N.G.S. Medicine dropper feeds nectar to a baby hummer as Andre Ruschi watches. Spider web, lichen, moss, and fiber form the nest. Giant Brazil has some 80 known species of hummingbirds. Little Espirito Santo, Dr. Ruschi's home state, counts at least 34.