I spent a perfect day with a white hummingbird – my new muse!
This Leucistic Hummingbird, visiting the Australian Gardens at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, may be the first sighting of its kind in Santa Cruz County! I’ve been scouring the web for more info and it seems there have been sightings in Santa Barbara as well. The Leucistic Humming bird (in this case most likely an Anna’s Hummingbird) retains some pigmentation (dark eyes, beak and legs and often there are traces of color in it’s plumage) where as a pure albino hummingbird would have a complete lack of pigmentation, it’s eyes, beak and legs appearing pink.
Seeing this hummingbird in the wild was pure magic and that’s saying something considering how impossibly beautiful a typically iridescent hummingbird is! This was like a little glowing fairy flitting in and out of the sunlight, but a fierce one who was robustly defending his territory from interlopers. I watched him ascend high in the sky to hover then dive balm the smaller Rufous and Allen’s hummers. I first spotted him in his his special perch in a spindly tree where he was perfectly camouflaged, looking like a leaf in the dappled sunlight (I could hear him singing before I saw him – which apparently is a one way of identifying an Anna’s). From here he could clearly survey his territory and would make his rounds visiting the various proteas in the garden favoring the Grevillea “Robyn Gordon” and the Hairpin and Showy Banksia but he also patrolled the conifers edging the arboretum – maybe looking for bugs and worms? Funny how this bird from the Americas is favoring the flowers from Down Under!
Out of the blue…
A spark in the dark…
Glowing in the garden…
Excellent article and photo sequence.
Thank you Leonard, it was so nice to have met you at the Arboretum. Your photos came out beautifully!
(In case anyone is curious)
If you report a white hummingbird and someone is able to band it, you may help play an important role in our understanding of how albinism and leucism affect hummingbird populations.
What beautiful shots… what a lovely hummingbird.
Marie, your photos are outstanding! It must have been so thrilling to see a perhaps once in a lifetime specimen.
Beautiful. Thanks for sharing these.
Lovely shots-thank you for sharing….
Thanks so much for sharing these pictures. A beautiful hummer.
Beautiful photos…I have never seen a hummingbird like the one in your photos…Thanks for sharing
Very interesting article and beautiful photos!
Loved your photos.
Thank you for sharing all the wonderful shots with us. I am going to plan a trip to the auditorium in the next few days. Hopefully I’ll be able to capture it
I hope you’re able to see him in person Lucy!