Rare White Hummingbird Has Completely Stolen The Show At California Arboretum

In the Australian Gardens at the University of California, Santa Cruz Arboretum, there are at least a dozen Anna’s Hummingbirds flying in and out of the golden banksia flowers and other pink and white blooming shrubs. All of them have bright, iridescent feathers in gorgeous shades of emerald, pink and gray.

A Rare White Hummingbird Has Stolen The Spotlight At California Garden, LOOK!

The bird is an Anna’s Hummingbird, it’s feathers are almost entirely white. Not much is known about the mysterious little, white hummingbird, except that it’s been hanging out in the garden since May and that it has leucism. Leucism is a developmental condition that results in a loss of pigmentation.

Different than albino birds, which can’t produce the pigment melanin, leucistic birds can produce melanin, but it can’t be deposited into their feathers. Albino birds have red or pink eye coloring, but this hummingbird’s eyes are black, as are its feet and bill.

Steve Gerow, the bird records keeper for the Santa Cruz Bird Club, says that what makes this bird so rare is that it’s almost completely white, while most leucistic birds are only partially affected. Their feathers have white patches amongst all of their colored plumage.

The obvious lack of camouflage makes it more susceptible to predators. Melanin also makes the feathers strong and durable, so the fact that this bird has extensive leucism most likely means that its feathers are weaker than normal. This makes flight and insulation more difficult.

Retired University of California, Santa Cruz biology professor, Todd Newberry, says that in his entire 70 years of bird watching, he’s never seen any bird like this one.

He’s been to see the Anna’s Hummingbird about 100 times so far, and he usually finds the little bird close to the arboretum’s Hummingbird Trail.

“The way to find it – the way it is with any rare bird – is to look for people looking at it,” says Newberry.

Since May, roughly 1,000 people have come by to see the hummingbird, according to the arboretum. As of October 12, the bird was still being spotted, and visitors are welcome to come and visit.

What a stunningly beautiful little creature this hummingbird is!

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