Just in time for Halloween, a shadowy visitor has been making an appearance in and around the Tacoma Tideflats. This ghostly specter has captured the attention of several coworkers and whispers of a flying apparition keep landing on my desk.
After many failed attempts to observe this phantom, I finally locked eyes with…
This crow is leucistic. Leucism is a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation resulting in white, pale or patchy coloration of the skin, feathers, scales or hairs, but not the eyes. Similar to albinism, leucism is genetically passed as a recessive gene; however, unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin. Leucism is more common than albinism, particularly in urban bird populations, but it is still a rare occurrence and quite the sight to see as it flies overhead and munches on acorns in the Administration Building parking lot.
We don’t yet know if this trickster will stick around and become a permanent resident, or if it will join the murder of its fellow crows to migrate south for a winter vacation. Until then, this special beauty will bring a little light into the autumnal darkness.