Thursday, 12 July 2012

Rare one-in-a-million white sparrow is captured on camera in Scotland


A rare bird has been captured on camera after it was spotted by a woman in Moray.
The white sparrow - which remains a rarity in Scotland - has been visiting the woman's garden in recent weeks.
The extremely unusual birds are thought to have a condition known as Leucism that affects less than one in every million newly-born common house sparrows.
Linda Crowther, 58, first spotted the white bird when out walking close to her home in Lossiemouth.
She said: "At first sight I thought he was a small exotic species that had perhaps escaped from a cage, but then he started turning up in my garden.
"My husband was a bit sceptical when I told him, but he changed his tune when I eventually produced a set of photographs of the little bird being fed by its parents."
Reported sightings of white sparrows have been hailed as rare events in China and Russia, where they are regarded by many cultures to bring good fortune.
In the UK there are no recent reports of sightings in Scotland, although one was photographed in London in 2008 and another in Bedford in 2010.
While the RSPB has said that they are often separated and picked on by other sparrows, some do manage to survive to live normal lives.
A spokesperson for the RSPB said: “Leucistic birds are an unusual sight. Unlike albinism, leucism affects the pigmentation of plumage while the bird’s eyes remain a normal colour.
“The condition may make birds more vulnerable to predators as their unusual plumage makes them more conspicuous. The reduction in pigment can also weaken feathers making them more prone to wear.”
Mrs Crowther added: "This sparrow is regularly fed by both parents although he does not seem to interact with the other young birds.
“As for it bringing good fortune, I'll need to buy a lottery ticket this week I guess."


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