The hummingbird whisperer

Researcher’s 200-plus wild ‘fairy’ birds make their home at UCLA

UCLA researcher Melanie Barboni is the hummingbird whisperer. Los Angeles is loaded with hummingbirds year round and Melanie has attracted hundreds right outside her office window.

“They are, in every aspect, remarkable. They are tiny but fierce. They have so much personality, an amazing metabolism,” Barboni said of the birds that drink 8 to 10 times their weight in nectar daily. “They are Mother Nature’s best creation. … She was trying to make one tiny perfect jewel, and I think she got it perfectly right.”

My late mother lived about ten miles west of UCLA and we had hummingbird feeders in her backyard. She was loaded with them and it was incredible to watch, year round. Here in Connecticut we only have one species, ruby-throated and they migrate so we only have them from late spring to early fall; they’re getting read to fly south right now.

[via The Kid Should See This]

UCLA flower


Even the most out of the way places on the UCLA campus are full of exotic flowers and considerate landscaping. I went into Westwood to run an errand, camera in hand thinking I’d take some people shots (maybe see an actor or actress) and instead got caught up on the edge of the UCLA campus looking at the various plantings on the edge border of a big student parking lot. I spent 20 minutes there photographing (waiting for the wind to die down) while students walked by, occasionally looking at me like I was nuts to photograph these stupid, common flowers. Actually, I doubt many of them notice the flowers; to the one they had their eyes down and ears full of iPods and cell phones.