Rare pale-colored Canada goose caught on camera again in Chilliwack – Chilliwack Progress
Luke the Leucistic Canada Goose is back.
OK, the goose doesn’t have a name, but a local amateur photographer snapped a photo of a Canada goose at Cultus Lake last week with a rare genetic condition called leucism (pronounced LUKE-ism) that affects birds , mammals and reptiles.
The result is pale coloration either in patches or, as in the case of this goose, all over the feathers.
Leucism is often confused with albinism, but it is not the same thing. A leucistic bird still has the normal eye and beak color, and the discoloration may be only in patches. Albinism means that an animal has no pigment anywhere.
William Walsh and his friend Morgan Brown were at Cultus Lake out for a walk when they saw a flock of geese and spotted, ahem, Luke.
“It was pretty amazing to see this bird with its rare condition,” Walsh said of the goose Brown photographed. “Upon further research, there are very few sightings and it’s quite rare to see one, let alone an all-white one.”
But this isn’t Luke’s first visit to Chilliwack.
Whether or not it is the same goose has not been verified, but in 2020 amateur photographer William Snow captured photos of a Canada goose that looked almost like a ghost.
“When I saw it, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Snow said. “I thought the crow was the only one, but according to the information, it’s rare.”
The raven Snow is referring to is a white raven well known to Chilliwack birders that has been spotted for years, mostly in the Sardis Park area.
According to Michael Stein in a National Audobon Society “BirdNote” report on leucism, he explains the difference between the disease and albinism.
“Albinos are completely white with pink eyes and skin. Albinism also has a different origin: problems with an enzyme called tyrosinase (pronounced ty-RAHS-in-ayse). Problems with tyrosinase lead to problems making melanin, the pigment that gives color to skin, feathers and eyes.
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