'The Albino Blackbird': Poem about a True Chance Encounter with a Rare Albino Blackbird

An Enchanted Place

The River Brue at the end of the bottom paddock at 'The Lakes'
The River Brue at the end of the bottom paddock at 'The Lakes' | Source

When & Where it Happened

I was helping the houseparents of a school boarding house; actually they were also helping me as I had nowhere to live for six weeks! Lucky students to live in such an enchanted place; a huge mansion, with a rambling garden and paddocks leading down to a river where they could fish and paddle canoes.

Energetic badminton in the garden or relaxing evening strolls down to the river, whatever the activity the place itself was peaceful, even magical in the quiet evenings, a soothing balm after a busy day.

I often took that walk down to the river, sometimes alone. I love watching for the birds; herons playing statues to fool the fish, buntings flying like skipping stones across water, shy blackbirds singing in the hedgerow.


An Unexpected Privilege

I had never seen any albino creature in the wild and never thought I would. One day, I came across such a creature. It seemed to be there just for me, it sang just for me and it became a habit for me to go in search of even just a brief sighting.

So special was this experience that I wanted to record its existence, the effect it had on me; a courageous, bold bird that surely had to fight for its existence far harder than most.


A Graphic Contradiction

Albino Blackbird
Albino Blackbird | Source

An Idyllic Setting

A leisurely stroll, down through the upper paddock....
A leisurely stroll, down through the upper paddock.... | Source
...to the lower stretch down to the river
...to the lower stretch down to the river | Source
The most precious bird perched there and touched my soul
The most precious bird perched there and touched my soul | Source

The Albino Blackbird

A paddock leading down to a narrow river

winding through the Somerset Levels,

a solitary woman strolling in the summer evening sun.


A blackbird’s song heard nearby,

the woman’s eyes search the hedges for its origin,

no blackbird discovered in the foliage.


But what is that boldly sat upon the fencepost,

though not black,

singing for all his might the familiar sound?


A blackbird in name, in form but not in colour!

Albino, red-eyed, bold as brass,

defying incredulity with his evening song.


An albino blackbird? A graphic contradiction.

A concrete phantom, living, pulsing, flying

and watching with daring eye.


Daring to exist, daring the woman to believe,

daring to live in its prejudiced world,

the whitebird sang, loud and joyful.


The woman came more often then,

to that calm spot where meadow met meandering river.

She longed to see him again.


Three times he granted her heart-felt wish,

though she dared not hope too much.

The third was when, tearful and sad, she


turned towards the house to leave for ever,

an aching heart to see him no more,

in her mind an urgent chant ‘say goodbye, please...say goodbye!’


Out of the calm silence, as she despaired,

his lifting melody of evening cheer, louder than ever,

just for her, sped across the space


to kiss her heart, to gladden her eye,

leaving a gratefulness, an enchantment which endures,

which will endure longer than he or I.


Facts on Albino or Partial Albino Animals

Albino birds and animals have pink eyes; the colour in the eyes comes from blood vessels behind the eyes and is not pigmentation.

Leucism can be confused with albinism. Leucism occurs when colouring chemicals are present in the body of the bird, though not present in the feathers. The feathers are white but the eyes are still dark.

Partial albinism can occur; you might see blackbirds with a smaller or larger degree of white feathers.

Albino blackbirds are rare.


Copyright annart (AFC) 2014 (No copying without permission; no changing of original hub)

Sightings of Albino Birds/Animals

Have you ever seen an albino bird or animal?

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Comments 37 comments

annart profile image

annart 2 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Alun. Yes, it is a metaphor for the human world too. Animals are not often kind to 'mutations' but are probably better than many humans! I've known greenfinches to vary in shades of green too; I suppose some birds have that wide gradation, like buzzards and a few other birds of prey.

Thanks for visiting; good to hear from you.

Ann


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 2 months ago from Essex, UK

A lovely visual image conjured by the poem Ann, of a walk in the countryside and an unexpected encounter. And a poem which can also be seen as a metaphor ...

'daring to live in its prejudiced world,

the whitebird sang, loud and joyful'

... for anyone socially disadvantaged, different, and yet deep down the same as everyone else, boldly proclaiming their right to exist.

A long time ago, I had a greenfinch which used to visit a feeding station in the garden. It was definitely a greenfinch, but the body colour was not olive green, but creamy yellow, with the normal bright yellow wing stripe. Not exactly albino, but very unusual! Alun


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you, DDE, for your kind comment and the votes. Although the blackbird is very common here, the albino is a rarity and I feel so privileged to have seen it. It left its mark on me as you can see. I appreciate your visit.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

An interesting and so informative hub on this lovely bird I never heard of it but your well-explained hub told me everything in detail. The photos are so beautiful. Your hubs are thoroughly researched and with a great layout in presentation voted up.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks DDE for your lovely comments and the vote. I'm passionate about nature so I guess I use it a lot in my hubs! I appreciate your visit, as always. Ann


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Beautiful photos presented with this informative and interesting hub your focus on nature is endless voted up!


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

manatita44: Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am a nature lover but this is the most amazing natural occurrence I've experienced and every detail is etched on my memory.

I appreciate your visit. All the best to you. Ann


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 years ago from london

Very beautiful and captivating. A true nature lover, I suppose but most certainly an eye for detail. Shalom!


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you so much D.A.L, for your kind comment. I up-dated the photos only yesterday as I found some that I took at the time. I'm so glad you enjoyed this and I appreciate your visit. Ann


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 2 years ago from Lancashire north west England

Beautifully done enhanced by your fantastic choice of images. The poetry was beautiful also. Really enjoyed this work. Voted up and beautiful.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Dolores, I'm glad you enjoyed this. It was indeed a surprise sighting and an emotional one. It still brings joy and wonder when I think about it, as well as tears! Ann


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 2 years ago from East Coast, United States

Hi Ann, I loved your poem and love how you added pertinent information. As a bird lover myself, I can understand how moving this sighting must have been for you. There is nothing like a surprise sighting!


annart profile image

annart 3 years ago from SW England Author

pocono foothills: thanks for your comment and I'm sorry I'm late in replying but for some reason I didn't get a notification. That's a strange version of abinoism, that skunk! Isn't nature amazing? I greatly appreciate you stopping by and telling us your story. Ann


pocono foothills profile image

pocono foothills 3 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania

As a young child, I had an albino rabbit as a pet (until a bear broke into it's cage and ate it). I saw an albino skunk once when I lived in the Pocono Mountains, near my house. That was very strange, because it was white with black stripes, instead of black with white stripes.


annart profile image

annart 3 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you, chef-de-jour. Glad you enjoyed it. Ann


chef-de-jour profile image

chef-de-jour 3 years ago from Wakefield, West Yorkshire,UK

Albinos are very special aren't they? Outsiders and yet carrying with them such rare energy.

Thank you for the poem - taking me down to the water to meet this bird was a very enjoyable experience.


annart profile image

annart 3 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you Eddy for your lovely comment and vote. Glad you enjoyed it. You have a great weekend too. Off to France tomorrow for a week or so, then back for some more hubs! Ann


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

I love anything to do with nature and this gem was a treat.

Voting up and looking forward to many more.

Enjoy your weekend.

Eddy.


annart profile image

annart 3 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you Rosemay50 for your kind comment. It was indeed a special treat, like being in another magical world.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 3 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Beautifully written. I have never seen an albino bird it must have been quite a special treat for you


annart profile image

annart 3 years ago from SW England Author

CraftytotheCore: I didn't realise at the time but apparently they are very rare. I was so lucky to catch sight of it once, let alone regularly. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Ann


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

I have never known of an albino blackbird. This was beautifully written and illustrated! Just wonderful.


annart profile image

annart 3 years ago from SW England Author

Gypsy Rose Lee: Thank you so much for your compliments and for the votes. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Ann


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and awesome. Love the pictures. What a fascinating bird and you're poetry is wonderful.


annart profile image

annart 3 years ago from SW England Author

old albion: Thanks, Graham, for your kind words. It was such a delightful event, I feel privileged to have experienced it. Ann


annart profile image

annart 3 years ago from SW England Author

BlossomSB: Thank you very much for your comment. Yes, it must be a great problem in the tropics, added to the stigma of albinism, whether you are animal or human. I love kookaburras - I saw many when visiting Queensland but never an albino. Appreciate you stopping by. Ann


old albion profile image

old albion 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi Ann. I echo what Bill says above. I was a delight to read together with your delightful photographs.

Graham.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

A lovely poem and an interesting hub. I have seen an albino kookaburra, but it is not easy for them to survive as they are so visible to predators. I've also visited a family in PNG where some of the people were albinos. I should think it would be very difficult living in the tropics without the pigment in the skin to protect, too.


annart profile image

annart 3 years ago from SW England Author

Elias Zanetti: thank you so much for your lovely comment. It was indeed a wonderful experience. I appreciate you stopping by. Ann


Elias Zanetti profile image

Elias Zanetti 3 years ago from Athens, Greece

Should be a great experience Ann and you transformed it into a wonderful poem! Many thanks!


annart profile image

annart 3 years ago from SW England Author

Tuatha: Thanks for reading and leaving such a lovely comment. I love that word - happenstance!

Mhatter99: Thank you for the compliment and for taking the time to read. Glad you enjoyed it.


annart profile image

annart 3 years ago from SW England Author

cam8510: thank you so much for your comments. Yes, it's a lot to do with connecting with the surroundings and is very uplifting. Do write about it; I'll look forward to reading it. Ann


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Remarkably expressed. Thank you for this.


Tuatha profile image

Tuatha 3 years ago from Fayetteville, NC

What a lovely description in contradiction, nature, survival, and pure happenstance. Loved it. Ty Ann.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 3 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Ann, thank you for sharing this wonderful experience. I connected strongly with both parts, the sense of kinship with both the place and the creatures which inhabit the place. I've been out west for several months working a temporary job and I have spent a great deal of time in the wilderness surrounded by beauty and wild animals. It is a special feeling. I may have to write more about it.


annart profile image

annart 3 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you so much, bill. Praise from you is a great compliment. You've made my day!

Hope you have a great week. Ann


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

What a great hub, Ann! The introduction was perfect, and then some facts about the bird, and then a lovely poem to finish it all off. Well done my friend.

bill

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