Example: [Collected via e-mail, September 2011]
Fifteen-year-old photographer Marlin Shank was fortunate enough to capture several images of a rare albino ruby-throated hummingbird while in a park in Staunton, Va. This is normally where I'd add some commentary to the scene… but I’ll just let these amazing photos speak for themselves this time.
Origins: Albinism is a genetic condition that results in a lack of pigmentation in the skin, hair, scales or feathers of an animal. Albinism has been documented in many different species throughout the animal kingdom, but such documentation can be much harder to come by for some species than others, due to a variety of factors such as:
- The rate of albinism in a given species may be so low that examples of the phenomenon are quite rare.
- Deleterious effects can cause albinistic individuals to die out much more quickly than other members of their species (e.g., a lack of camouflage may make them especially vulnerable to predators).
- Some element of a species' lifestyle (e.g., occupying a remote, inaccessible habitat) may make it very difficult to discover and track albinistic individuals.
Over the next few hours, we got several more opportunities for photos. After the boys had each taken some photos, I took a turn with one of the cameras. When the hummer decided to visit the butterfly bush at the edge of the yard, I could hardly get the camera through the doorway fast enough. I set up as quickly as I could. Darting from flower to flower, left/right, up/down, backward/forward, our hummer was on the move. He was keeping me hopping too.
Last updated: 10 January 2012