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Rare, albino hummingbird stirs up excitement during Ohio backyard visits

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Rare, albino hummingbird generates excitement during Ohio backyard visits

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Hummingbirds are preparing for their annual migration to Central America and Mexico, something they do every September after summering in the United States.

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So, it’s not surprising to see the little birds at backyard feeders and late summer flower patches in places like Ohio and Michigan and parts of the southeastern U.S. as they gear up for the long trek south.

What is unusual though, is to spot a rare white hummingbird anywhere, at any time.

For an Ohio family, that’s exactly what happened. They noticed an albino hummingbird in their backyard in Chardon Township in the northeastern part of the state recently.

Andrea Gutka told WTOL-TV that when her family put out red patio furniture, they noticed an increase in the numbers of the tiny birds, mainly ruby-throated hummingbirds, visiting their yard, but she said they were quite surprised when they saw a pure white hummer with red eyes several times.

"The bird visited us about three times we could see over the past week," Gutka told WTOL.

Albino hummingbirds have a condition called leucism, according to the Audubon Society, a developmental condition resulting in the loss of pigmentation. While albino birds can't produce the pigment melanin, leucistic birds produce melanin but not in their feathers. Albino hummingbirds are also known by their red or pink eyes.

The organization said the birds are more at risk from predators like hawks and feral cats because of their lack of camouflage. A normal-colored hummingbird in shades of browns and greens blends in well with its surroundings.