The Hummingbird Whisperer

Swiss geologist Dr. Melanie Barboni is doing a fellowship at at  the UCLA Earth, Planetary and Space Science program. She is also known as "the hummingbird whisperer."

Every weekday, 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.

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 said with a smile.

(YouTube link)

You have to have special observational skills to know these tiny birds by their individual names. But Barboni has watched many of them since they hatched, and some will even come and sit on her fingers. Read more about Barboni and her hummingbird friends at UCLA.  -via Nag on the Lake


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When I was young, my grandparents (in the Puget Sound area) had several hummingbird feeders hanging on the railing of their deck. My grandfather showed me how, if you remained absolutely still, you could hold your hand under the feeder and the hummingbirds would eventually take advantage of the chance to rest and perch on your finger. It took a while for them to trust you, and if you even blinked your eyes, they would all scatter. I have had people absolutely refuse to believe me when I tell them I have had 5 or 6 hummingbirds perched on my finger before. They are pretty amazing to look at up close like that, and you can actually feel the heat radiating from their little high-energy bodies.
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