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Showstopper: Albino ruby-throated hummingbird

albino ruby-throated hummingbird Photo: Marlin D. Shank

Photo: Marlin Shank/Nature Friend Magazine

This very rare albino ruby-throated hummingbird was spotted in Staunton, Virginia, and photographed by Marlin D. Shank, 16. Marlin, his brothers, and his father took a number of pictures of the bird in August 2011.

This photo and more were posted January 27 on Discovery News. Still more photos appear on the Shanks’ own Nature Friend Magazine.

Those are the facts. Behind the facts is my incredible excitement about these spectacular photos and the fact that such a bird even exists. Albinos of any species generally don’t last very long in the wild without their normal camouflage. And hummers are only 3-4″ long — almost too small to be thought of as birds at all. Nests the size of golf balls. Eggs the size of Tic Tacs. The ability to hover and even fly backwards. They are one of nature’s most exquisite creations. And now this. Wow.

English: Ruby-throated hummingbird in flight

Normal ruby-throated hummingbird – Image via Wikipedia


  1. Nature constantly amazes with its complexity and beauty. IMO this makes a nice companion piece to Izaak Mak’s post on geographic beauty this morning. To see it, click on his name – he was the first commenter here.

  2. I love these little birds…I have a Fire Thornbush outside my window and Hummingbirds love them various times of the year. I enjoy watching them…so tiny 😀 I have not seen an albino, how lovely the photo is.

    • Lucky you! I’ve never had a chance to watch hummers on a daily basis. (When I first encountered them as a child, I thought I was being buzzed by big insects!) I hope you followed the links to see the other photos.

    • You need a good, fast lens, but they are quite tolerant of people standing near them while they feed. It’s been many years, but I got a few shots one time of one hovering at a feeder.

  3. That’s a chance of a lifetime..truly awesome,gorgeous lil hummer..Thank you for sharing…So enjoyed seeing that..

Now that I've had my say ...

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