A Leucistic Bald Eagle Makes Its Appearance at the Winter Wings Festival
The Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls Oregon was awesome! Not only did I get to meet Sharon Stiteler, aka Birdchick, I also was able to chat with Bill Thompson III of Birdwatcher’s Digest fame who, by the way, gave a most interesting and entertaining keynote presentation on the “Perils and Pitfalls of Birding.”
Even though the weather at the event didn’t always cooperate, a good time was had by all, especially the photographers in the crowd. Many people go to the Winter Wings Festival to see Bald Eagles, and there are plenty of them to observe.
According to one of the residents in the area, this leucistic Bald Eagle has been spending a few months in the Klamath Falls area for the past four winters! Click on images to enlarge.
Leucism, according to Wikipedia, is a condition in animals characterized by reduced pigmentation, but unlike albinism, is caused by a reduction in all types of skin pigment, not just melanin.
Leucism is a general term for the phenotype resulting from defects in pigment cell differentiation and/or migration from the neural crest to the 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.
I love the brown mottled look it gives this adult bird.
Much more interesting to me than the usual black and white variety.
That’s all folks. It’s always nice to have a little variation in your life isn’t it?