Mar 162016
 

I’ve had a “white-capped chickadee” visiting my feeders on Langton Street for the last three years.  Its tail and wings are those of a normal chickadee but everything else is pure white.  I was amazed when I first saw this bird, so looked it up on Google and found it’s not all that rare. Interesting though that it’s been coming for 3 years (that I know of).

Ken Guthrie

Note: Leucism refers to abnormal pigmentation.

A leucistic Black-capped Chickadee in Bridgenorth - Jeff Keller

A leucistic Black-capped Chickadee in Bridgenorth – Jeff Keller

Jan 022016
 

This morning was very busy in my yard with my regular leucistic robin, 3 blue jays, a pair of cardinals, doves, chickadees, a white breasted nuthatch and goldfinches all feeding at the same time. I thought all of them had left when the Cooper’s hawk flew into the top of the ash tree at the back of my yard. It sat there for quite some time before I noticed the female cardinal was still in the crab apple tree. She was very aware that the hawk was there and stayed perfectly still in spite of the squirrels going into the tree to feed just a couple of feet away from her. This went on for over 1/2 an hour with neither bird  moving. I kept hoping the pigeons would arrive so she might get away. Finally I intervened. I know the hawk needs to eat but not the only cardinal that comes to my yard! I went out and walked out to the back and took a picture of the hawk before it flew off. Seconds later the cardinal was gone in a flash.

Cooper's Hawk on bird it had captured (Karl Egressy)

Cooper’s Hawk on prey  (Karl Egressy)

The leucistic robin (showing patches of white due to abnormal pigmentation) I mentioned has been here for months. It spends most of the day in the shelter of the big spruce beside the crab apple tree. Every so often it comes out of the spruce, eats a few crab apples or comes to the deck for water and then goes back into the spruce. Two days ago, a flock of at least 8 robins flew into the crab apple and started to feed. The leucistic bird came out and vigorously defended its food source. Within minutes the other robins left and it went back to the spruce. Shortly after the Cooper’s hawk came by and chased off 4 pigeons.

I also have a squirrel with a white tail end and a leucistic mourning dove with a white tail.

Sue Paradisis, Tudor Crescent, Peterborough

Leucistic American Robin (Alan Dextrase - April 12, 2013)

Leucistic American Robin (Alan Dextrase – April 12, 2013)

Dec 022015
 

On November 21, 2015, at 7:15 am at 11 Bank Street South in Millbrook, an all-white woodpecker was enjoying the hanging peanuts. The bird was totally grey/white and NOT albino as had black eyes. It was the same size as a Hairy Woodpecker and its flight was swooping like a woodpecker. The bird is still coming daily to the feeder. I am attaching a couple of very poor pictures .. taken through my screen on a my cell phone.

Jill Stocker

Note from DM: I’m quite sure that this is a leucistic Hairy Woodpecker, which means “there is a partial loss of pigmentation resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the feathers  but not the eyes. Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin.” – Wikipedia 

leucistic HAWO - Jill Stocker - Nov. 2015 - Millbrook

leucistic HAWO – Jill Stocker – Nov. 2015 – Millbrook

leucistic HAWO 2 - Jill Stocker - Nov. 2015 - Millbrook

leucistic HAWO 2 – Jill Stocker – Nov. 2015 – Millbrook

Oct 282015
 

I photographed this spectacular American Robin on October 3rd. It has been gracing our yard since last spring. It built a nest on the downspout of our garage, and there were three, possibly four babies in the nest. Earlier in the summer, the robin still displayed some darker feathers. As you can see, however, it is now almost completely white.

Judy Perron, Nassau Road, Douro-Dummer Township

(Note: This bird is leucistic, which means it is lacking the colour pigment known as melanin. Some melanin is present, however, in the eye and wing feathers. Albino birds, on the other hand, show no colour at all – not even in the eye – hence the red appearance from the blood vessels. D.M.)

leucistic American Robin - Judy Perron Oct. 2015

leucistic American Robin – Judy Perron Oct. 2015

May 052015
 

I was  the Peterborough Crown Game Preserve the other day and my friend took these images of this doe.  Can it be a partly albino or is there another explanation?

Terry Carpenter

Note: I believe that the doe is leucistic, which means that it is lacking normal skin pigmentation. “Leucism is a general term for the phenotype resulting from defects in pigment cell differentiation and/or migration from the neural crest to skin, hair, or feathers during development. This results in either the entire surface (if all pigment cells fail to develop) or patches of body surface (if only a subset are defective) having a lack of cells capable of making pigment.” from Wikipedia – D.M.

Leucistic White-tailed Deer - Peterborough Crown Game Preserve - May 2015 via Terry Carpenter

Leucistic White-tailed Deer – Peterborough Crown Game Preserve – May 2015 via Terry Carpenter

Oct 182014
 

This unusual American Goldfinch with white in the tail feathers turned up in our yard this past weekend.

Leisa Baker, Peterborough

Note: This is a leucistic bird, meaning that it is lacking pigment in the tail feathers. Leucism seems to turn up quite regularly in goldfinches. This condition is caused by a genetic mutation that prevents pigments such as melanin  from being present on a bird’s feathers.  Leucism can include scattered white patches (where there shouldn’t be any), a paler overall plumage or even a totally white plumage with almost no colour visible. D.M.

Leucistic AMGO - Oct. 2014 - Leisa Baker

Leucistic AMGO – Oct. 2014 – Leisa Baker

Jul 102014
 
This bird is coming to our window feeder with the other finches, but his wings are white. I can’t find a goldfinch with white wings in any of my books. Any idea what it is?  We are on Redmond Rd., which is just past Assumption, off Keene Road.
Tracey Murfin.

This is a leucistic (lacking in normal feather pigmentation) American Goldfinch. It is very similar to a bird that was coming to a feeder in Cavan in December 2012 – possibly even the same bird. Leucism turns up in a lot of species, including robins, grackles, chickadees and hawks. D.M.

Leucistic American Goldfinch - Tracey Murfin - Assumption - July 2014

Leucistic American Goldfinch – Tracey Murfin – Assumption – July 2014

Leucistic AMGO by Dave Stabler - Cavan - Dec. 2012

Leucistic AMGO by Dave Stabler – Cavan – Dec. 2012

Apr 242014
 
Leucistic Northern Cardinal - Murray Palmer

Leucistic Northern Cardinal – Murray Palmer

Though this gorgeous lady has been coming to my feeder for a year or more, she`s very shy and apparently, like some females, doesn`t like to have her picture taken! Her mate may sit and eat, but usually she`s in and out like a flash. 

Murray Palmer, Wildlark Crescent, Peterborough

 

Dec 162013
 
leucistic Short-tailed Shrew 1 (Paul Costello)

leucistic Short-tailed Shrew 1 (Paul Costello)

These are pictures of an animal that got caught in a mousetrap that I had set in our porch.  I have seen many mole-like animals, but never before one with this colouring.  Is it an anomaly or a different species or subspecies?

Paul J. Costello, County Rd. 4, Douro-Dummer

leucistic Short-tailed Shrew 2 (Paul Costello)

leucistic Short-tailed Shrew 2 (Paul Costello)

NOTE from Drew Monkman: I forwarded these pictures to Don Sutherland, a zoologist at the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Here is his response. “This is a Short-tailed Shrew, Blarina brevicauda (though interestingly, the local subspecies is talpoides, meaning ‘mole-like’ [viz. Talpidae, the mole family]). As for the white, the animal is partially leucistic. This form of leucism is referred to as patterned leucism or piebald. It’s not common; I’ve never seen anything like it in Short-tailed Shrew or any other small mammal, come to think of it, though I’ve seen it in Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds and American Crows.”