Rare, Unexpected, Unusual or Extinct Indiana Birds - indianajones
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Albino Hummingbird, SW Vigo County, Indiana, September 22, 2010. The following is from: Allen T. Chartier, amazilia1(at)comcast.net, Inkster, Michigan, USA
It is clearly a full albino, with reddish eyes, and pinkish bill and legs, which is more rare than usual. Albinos almost always give a perception of being larger, but it is an illusion caused by the all white plumage. A hummingbird researcher in Oklahoma, now retired, was tracking albino hummingbirds and had at least a couple hundred in her database, most of them Ruby-throated. Some of them have been banded (a couple dozen maybe?) and all have proven to be hatched in the current summer, and there have never been any returnees. All white birds are more susceptible to predation as they really stand out, but it has also been proposed that these albino hummingbirds might not complete their migration as flight feathers lacking pigment are not as strong as normally colored ones, and so might wear out much faster, possibly even before the bird reaches its wintering grounds. They cannot force themselves to molt these worn feathers, as molt is driven by hormonal changes triggered by changing day length.