Monday, January 16, 2012

Albino Hummingbirds

Albino Hummingbird- Marlin Shank
Its not often that I find a great nature story on Snopes.com.   Photographer Joe Motto sent me an email that I just had to check out.  A fifteen year old photographer named Marlin Shank took a series of dramatic pictures of an oxymoron, an all white ruby-throated hummingbird.  He was billed as "fortunate" but it really was also good planning as described in detail at Snopes.
"They read a post on a birder mailing list indicating that an albino hummingbird was regularly visiting feeders in the backyard of a home about thirty miles away from their area.  Kevin and his sons made the drive out, set up their cameras and waited for the opportunity."
Albinism is a rare visual treat for us in any animal.  It likely increases the risk to the creature, whether by losing protective coloration from predators or loss of visual acuity by absence of filtering iris pigments.  Also coloration is an important factor in attracting a mate, so they are probably less likely to pass this gene on.

What resulted was a beautiful set of pictures of an albino hummingbird which either was aware of its beauty or simply hungry.  Which ever, it is a chance to lean back and enjoy this beautiful anomaly of nature.  The whole picture set is at this web site.

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