GREENUP Local artist Cathy Roberts Collins lives in an area that is conducive to her passions.

Collins paints a variety of subjects, and teaches others to paint, but she is perhaps best known for her landscapes and nature scenes. So it is fortunate for Collins that she lives off the beaten path, so to speak. Collins is surrounded by all of the fauna and flora of Greenup County, and both offer an unending wealth of inspiration.

“I have a lot of flowers around the house,” Collins said. “And we have always had hummingbirds.”

Collins said the both she and her husband enjoy having the birds around, but recently she was treated to something special.

“I couldn’t believe it at first, but I began seeing a snow-white hummingbird in with the others.,” she said.

The first time she saw the unique addition to the hummingbird group, Collins said that she had to tell her husband to come look at it.

As a side note, a team of hummingbirds isn’t actually referred to as a flock. Most hummingbirds are solitary, so the proper term when referring to a group of them is a ‘charm.’

But, as Collins can attest to first hand, they do socialize.

“I was concerned at first because of his lack of coloring, because he might not be able to avoid predators,” Collins said. “That and I had heard that if a bird is too different from the others then it has problems attracting a mate.”  

Although Collins couldn’t attest to any difficulties attracting others, she said that the snow-white bird plays with the other hummingbirds and they play with him with no confrontations that she has seen. The white hummingbird has even been known to land on the ground. Collins said that her dogs pay no attention to him or any of the other birds.

“He does seems to be camera-shy, though,” Collins laughed. “It’s really hard to get a good picture of him.”

Collins said that she isn’t sure if the white hummingbird could be considered a true albino.

“He looks snow-white, but sometimes I think I can see hints of beige and gold,” Collins said.

Collins said that she lives between two hills, and that birds of all kinds seem to enjoy flying over her little valley from hill to hill. She even has a white owl that frequents her home and, as far as she is concerned, they are welcome for as long as they care to stay. Like many birds however, hummingbirds do migrate south for the winter months. So only time will tell if Collins’ unique visitor returns to visit her next year.