Hummingbird Photographs by the Researcher Melanie Barboni and David Leninson
Humming Bird Photography: UCLA researcher who studies about volcanoes and eruptions has another passion and that is humming birds. Even as a child she loved hummingbirds and now she has raised a 200 strong community of hummingbirds near her office. She is also known by another name – The Hummingbird Whisperer. These hummingbirds are like her family, if she is late for feeding them, they fly right into her office and demand their needs. Every weekday, Melanie Barboni welcomes clouds of these “fairy” birds to her office window with nectar she mixes from large bags of sugar and water. In a frenzy and flash of iridescent greens, blues, reds and purples, the birds flit around four 80-ounce feeders that hang outside the windows of her ground-level office. If she puts her hand on the rim of a feeder, they will perch there in fond recognition of the human who feeds them. She was born in switzerland, where humming birds are non-existent and for over two years she has been feeding these birds and they make her smile all the time. According to Melanie Barboni,”“They are just so cute, and so smart! They remember you. They get to know you, and then they interact with you”. She can recognize upto 50 humming birds by their names and they allow her to touch them, feed them and even allow her to see their nests.
There’s a hummingbird haven at UCLA. It’s lovingly run by the “hummingbird whisperer”— assistant researcher Melanie Barboni.
If she doesn’t feed them in a timely manner, the miffed hummingbirds will fly into her office to “yell at me. … They are so demanding, but they know I will give them everything,” she explained with a smile.