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

Shortage of workers on Creston, Okanagan cherry and apple farms due to COVID-19

‘The tree fruit industry and the Ministry of Agriculture are asking local workers to consider helping with the harvest so that food waste is reduced’

Okanagan, Creston cherry and apple farms in need of workers

The worker shortage is due to the COVID-19 restrictions on international travel

Creston Fire Rescue Report: nine calls between Aug. 1 and 6

On Aug. 2, the CFR team and Wynndel Lakeview Fire Department (WLFD) were dispatched to the area of Highway 3A in Sirdar for a two-vehicle motorcycle incident

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

Creston Valley Hospital addresses COVID-19 rumours regarding farms

‘Not one seasonal worker in Creston has tested positive for COVID-19,’ said Dr. Nerine Kleinhans

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read