WATCH: A rare sight has been spotted in the skies over Vancouver Island — a white raven. For the last few years, no births have been documented. But now, the unusual bird near Qualicum Beach is garnering interest from all over the world. Kendall Hanson has the story.
They say birds of a feather flock together but this young one in the Coombs area has been getting a lot of attention for how it stands out.
It’s a raven that’s completely white except for one feature.
“To be albino you have to be pure white and no pigment on them at all but these have blue eyes. That’s a form of pigment,” said bird photographer Mike Yip.
White ravens were spotted near Qualicum Beach for nearly 20 years but the last one was documented in 2014.
Birders in the region believed the mating pair producing the white ravens had exceeded their mating life.
And so there’s speculation this one may be the offspring of a new set of parents.
“To produce the white ravens you have two black ravens mating and they both have to have the same recessive gene,” said Yip. “When that happens it’s extremely rare and to have it happen twice would be extremely rare.”
Those who have been watching the white raven in recent days and weeks are enjoying the unusual show.
“Fifty-three years we’ve been on the property here and we’ve never had an albino raven so this is pretty special,” said neighbour Patricia Kroot.
“This is the first time we’ve ever seen one totally white,” said neighbour Dave Cronmiller.
Perhaps not surprisingly, nature watchers and media have flocked to the area.
“Very unique absolutely,” said bird enthusiast Cathy Carlson. “I mean we have all seen ravens but to see a white one is quite the spectacle. It’s really a rarity in nature so it would be amazing for me to see.”
Yip says dedicated birders don’t tend to be as interested in an irregular common raven but he’s received calls from artists, writers, and painters from around the world who have a real fascination with a white raven being found in the wild.