Nature photographer Mike Yip spotted this white raven in Coombs last month. - Mike Yip photo

Rare white ravens spotted again on Vancouver Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

Residents in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area have another chance to see the mysterious white raven.

For two decades, white ravens have periodically appeared in the Coombs-Hilliers region, and this year two new ones have appeared to continue the tradition, according to local nature photographer and author Mike Yip.

Yip, who spotted his first white raven in 2007, said the birds are born in the area and any he’s observed have been newborns.

The ravens are all white except for blue eyes, which classifies them as leucistic as opposed to albinistic.

RELATED: COLUMN: New white raven appears in Coombs

“The parents are black and they typically produce one or two white and usually two or three blacks at the same time,” Yip said.

With the regular birth of one or two white ravens a year, Yip said it could be expected to see many in the region, but that’s not the case.

“My theory is they don’t survive, otherwise we’d have a lot of them around,” Yip said. “The fact is, basically after December no one sees them until the new ones are born, so my theory is that either they disperse, but if they dispersed they would be reported elsewhere, or they never survive which is why we never hear about them when they should be adults.”

Yip believes their white feathers aren’t as durable and warm as black feathers and their eyesight is weaker.

“The [black] feathers have melanin in them and that gives the feathers strength and warmth and so with the absence of melanin the feathers definitely aren’t as durable,” Yip said.

White ravens are produced by a pair of black common ravens that both possess recessive gene alleles.

“There’s some years when I don’t see [white ravens] but mind you I’m not looking for them. There’s still a possibility that there are one or two born every year but it’s also possible that they miss a few years because it’s a genetic defect and if both (parents) get the recessive gene they end up with white [babies] but there could be years where no one gets the recessive genes so they’re all black,” Yip said.

karly.blats@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BUSINESS BUZZ: Baldface Lodge continues work on new headquarters

Our columnist also reports on a new tourism association and a Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism contest

VIDEO: Nelson grandmothers on virtual walk across South Africa

Grans to Grans are raising money for African grandmothers

Nelson police: cougar seen in Nelson

The animal was last spotted Tuesday evening on Anderson Street

First Energy Metals set to start gold exploration work in the West Kootenay

The work will be conducted at two of its sites near Nakusp and Nelson

Nelson skateboarders charged with assaulting Trail police officer

Incident happened at the skate park in Trail

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Most Read