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Sunday Showcase: Leucistic Sparrow

Jahzi Van Iderstine saw this leucistic House Sparrow in her yard in Airdrie, just north of Calgary, in mid-August. It appears to be a young House Sparrow as it is associating with them and has been seen begging from a female House Sparrow.  All photos by Jahzi Van Iderstine.

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The bird has dark eyes, so it is not an albino, but it is almost completely white and actually appears a bit pinkish. Leucism is a condition in which some of the dark and coloured pigments are missing from a bird’s feathers.

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Here it is with other House Sparrows:

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And below it is begging from a female House Sparrow who has a sunflower seed:

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Here are a few more photos of this striking bird:

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Leucistic Loon

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

Paul Koegler was lucky enough to see this Common Loon with very little dark pigmentation on August 15, 2015 at Whitetail Lake, BC. Leucistic birds are not too common, especially ones like this that lack the darkest pigments in all their feathers. Birds with irregular white splotches or patches seem to be more common. The bird is not albino; if it was it would have pink eyes, a light bill, and whiter feathers.

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::Aperture: ƒ/11|Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II|Focal length: 300mm|ISO: 800|Shutter speed: 1/1000s|

This looks like an adult bird. It has the black bill of an adult and you can faintly see the ring around the neck. It is with at least two other adult loons, so they were either done breeding at this time or were unsuccessful breeders. Breeding loons are very territorial and a breeding male will not tolerate any other loon besides its mate being nearby.

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::Aperture: ƒ/11|Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II|Focal length: 300mm|ISO: 800|Shutter speed: 1/250s|

In about a week we should be seeing the first of the migrating loons coming through Calgary. They can be seen on Glenmore Reservoir, the Bow River, and other large bodies of water. If we’re lucky we may get other species here on migration such as the Pacific Loon or even Arctic or Red-throated Loons.