About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

American Robin with White Feathers

If you look at the range map you’ll see that there are winter populations of America Robins  in most states year round. Yes, year round. Robins are surprisingly hardy birds, capable of surviving temperatures well below zero. But that doesn’t mean sightings are common year round.

After nesting season has ended, they usually form large nomadic groups that roost at night in the woods. Their diet changes from mostly worms and insects to fruit, nuts and berries. I’ve seen them devouring our crab apples, Mountain Ash tree berries, and sometimes under my feeders looking for nuts. They also appreciate open water in the fall and winter. If you have a pond or heated birdbath they may show up for afternoon drinks.

Sunday my cats and I were excited to watch a flock of 6 robins all bathing together in the pond. Spish, splash, they were taking a bath and causing a lot of excitement in our house. As pleased as I was watching the pond action, I was even more excited to see a couple robins out in the lawn. One was a beautiful, dark red-breasted robin, but the other was a little different. Is that white?

It was way in the back of the yard so I extended the zoom to take some candid shots of a leucistic American Robin. I talked about leucism in an earlier blog. Click HERE to read more. And below is a short video.
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Anonymous said...

Cool, like a Halloween mask. When it has babies, will it pass on this trait?

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Good question!

According to Wikipedia most forms of albinism are the result of the biological inheritance of genetically recessive genes passed from both parents.

However, because organisms can be carriers of genes for albinism without exhibiting any traits, albinistic offspring can be produced by two non-albinistic parents.

Leucism differs from albinism in that the melanin is, at least, partially absent but the eyes retain their usual color. Some leucistic animals are white or pale because of chromatophore (pigment cell) defects, and do not lack melanin.

Unfortunately they usually don't have as long a life span. It doesn't effect their health but they are easier for prey to spot and have a harder time attracting mates.


Yelena said...

Hi! Today I taped White Robin??? in Alexandria, Va

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Thank you very much for sharing. Your robin looks like it has the pale form of Leucism: http://bit.ly/HZsW4y