So there we were, eating dinner at the kitchen table, when dozens of robins descended on the back yard to hunt worms. Having rather poor vision, it took me a few minutes to figure this one out.
Me: "Either one of those birds is carrying around a slice of bread, or its head is stuck in something ... maybe a white plastic lid? Wait ... robins don't eat bread."
Grabbing the binoculars, I discovered the flash of white was actually the color of the bird:
By the time I ran upstairs, changed the camera lens, and got back downstairs my quarry had wandered out of range. Fearing I'd scare off the whole lot of them, I snapped a desperation shot through the slider door. When I opened the door they did scatter, so this is the best I got.
And off we go to Google robins with white heads, resulting in this excellent article from fredericksburg.com.
The little guy has a condition called leucism, not the same as albinism: "The condition probably develops while the bird grows in its egg. The gene that controls skin-pigment cells called melanocytes turns on in some cases, but fails in others. The result is partially normal coloring with patches of white."
Only one bird in thousands is affected. It doesn't harm the bird's health, but it does put a serious crimp in his love life and makes him more conspicuous to predators.
Rare they may be, but luckier photographers have taken lots of much better pictures. You can check them out at Google Images.
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7 hours ago