A couple of days ago I received a call from Nancy in Habersham County. She contacted me to report that she spotted an albino hummingbird at one of her feeders on July 18. This was the first report of an albino hummingbird that I have received this year.
Albino hummingbirds are among the rarest of the rare birds.
Bird banding records indicate that less than 1/2 of 1 percent of all birds are albinos.
Since I began keeping up the sightings of these beautiful birds more than 25 years ago, I have never received more than a half a dozen reports of them in a single year. All of the birds reported to me were seen during the summer.
A bird does not have to be totally white to be considered an albino. If white feathers are displayed in an area where you would typically see colored feathers, it is an albino.
Biologists recognize four different types of albinism. The rarest form is called total albinism. To be considered a total albino, a bird cannot display any dark coloration on its skin, feathers, bill, legs or feet.
The most common form of albinism is called partial albinism. Partial albino birds have varying amounts of white feathers somewhere on their bodies.
If an albino hummingbird shows up in your backyard this summer, please let me know. There may be more of these rare birds in the Peach State than I realize.