Animals, Lighter

Rare Albino Hummingbird Seen In Colorado

Albino hummingbird; Image: Judith Anne SmithA rare albino hummingbird may have been spotted in Colorado.

Albino hummingbirds have a genetic condition that prevents their body from producing a natural chemical called “melanin.” Melanin is a chemical that gives most birds their beautiful colours.

Because Albino hummingbirds aren’t coloured, their feathers are white. They have pink bills and whitish or pink legs and feet. They may either have red or pink eyes.

The pink or red colour is caused by the red of their blood vessels.

One writer who specializes in birdwatching (or “birding”) says albino hummingbirds are extremely rare. The writer said a white hummingbird has also been seen recently in Virginia, a coincidence that is rarer still!

Birders will be watching carefully to see if they can photograph the bird again, so they can be sure it truly is an albino hummingbird.

Related Link
There are many “birder” websites and blogs featuring this story and photo of the albino hummingbird. Birds & Blooms is one of them.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
“Birding” is a hobby that is popular all around the world.  Have you ever gone birdwatching?  If so, explain where you went, what equipment you needed and what you saw.
If you haven’t gone, think of a nearby location where your class could go birdwatching.  What equipment would you need? What types of birds do you think you might see?

Reading Prompt
There are several uncommon and challenging words in this article, such as: albino, genetic, melanin, blood vessels, coincidence. How did you predict and solve the meaning of these unfamiliar words? What strategies did you use? Which were most helpful?

Primary, Junior and Intermediate
Predict the meaning of and quickly solve unfamiliar words using different types of cues, including: semantic (meaning), syntactic (language structure) and graphophonic (phonological and graphic) cues (OME, Reading: 3.2).

Grammar Feature: Compound Words
Several compound words appear in the article. These are single words that are made up of two or more words. Some examples are: shoelace, flashlight, doghouse. Find and circle all of the compound words in the article.