Northland bird-watchers spot rare albino hummingbird - KCTV5

Northland bird-watchers spot rare albino hummingbird

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This extremely rare albino ruby-throated hummingbird visited a backyard feeder at Lake Waukomis for three weeks.  Hummingbirds are migrating southward now and backyard feeders can be a help to them during this drought. (Photo courtesy Linda Williams) This extremely rare albino ruby-throated hummingbird visited a backyard feeder at Lake Waukomis for three weeks. Hummingbirds are migrating southward now and backyard feeders can be a help to them during this drought. (Photo courtesy Linda Williams)
This extremely rare albino ruby-throated hummingbird visited a backyard feeder at Lake Waukomis for three weeks.  Hummingbirds are migrating southward now and backyard feeders can be a help to them during this drought. (Photo courtesy Linda Williams) This extremely rare albino ruby-throated hummingbird visited a backyard feeder at Lake Waukomis for three weeks. Hummingbirds are migrating southward now and backyard feeders can be a help to them during this drought. (Photo courtesy Linda Williams)
This extremely rare albino ruby-throated hummingbird visited a backyard feeder at Lake Waukomis for three weeks.  Hummingbirds are migrating southward now and backyard feeders can be a help to them during this drought. (Photo courtesy Mary Nemacek) This extremely rare albino ruby-throated hummingbird visited a backyard feeder at Lake Waukomis for three weeks. Hummingbirds are migrating southward now and backyard feeders can be a help to them during this drought. (Photo courtesy Mary Nemacek)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A rare albino hummingbird that recently visited a feeder at a Northland home may still be in the Kansas City area, the Missouri Department of Conservation said.

Bird-watchers Nancy and Michael Morrison spotted a white hummingbird with a pink beak, pink legs and pink eyes hovering at a feeder in their Lake Waukomis yard on Aug. 8.

"She sure put some excitement in my days," Nancy Morrison said. "It was great watching her."

Ruby-throated hummingbirds normally have a black bill, black eyes and black legs, with metallic green back and sides and a bright red patch across the throat. They are also commonly seen sipping nectar from flowers or sugar water from backyard bird feeders.

The Morrisons said the bird frequently visited a feeder or rested at a butterfly bush at their home, but last Saturday, they noticed it was gone.

"I was pleased as punch to have her around," Morrison said.

Bill Hilton Jr., an educator and naturalist in South Carolina who works extensively with the species, said the length of the bill, body size and feature structures seem to indicate that it is a female ruby-throated hummingbird.

Hilton said the bird also appeared to be a true albino after reviewing photographs. Of the 30 to 40 reports a year Hilton receives on ruby-throated hummingbirds with white coloration, only three or four a year are true albinos, he said.

"They are extremely rare," Hilton said.

The white hummingbirds have poor survival rates because they stand out to predators, Hilton said.

According to Hilton, the albino in the Morrisons' yard was likely born this year in the Kansas City area and will be lucky to survive migration when hummingbirds head to Central America and the Gulf Coast region for winter.

Some hummingbirds nest and stay in the Kansas City region through summer. But many more migrate southward through the area from northern states.

Larry Rizzo, a natural history biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation, urges bird watchers who are interested in hummingbirds to keep feeders up into late November. 

For more information on hummingbirds in Missouri, click here.

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