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

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Snow expected to hit West Kootenay passes overnight on Thursday

Up to 15 cm of snow could fall on Highway 3 between Paulson summit to Kootenay Pass by Friday morning

Former Grand Forks fire chief suing city for wrongful dismissal

Dale Heriot was fired in July 2019 after his department was investigated for safety, bullying issues

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary seeks online feedback on transit, housing

Surveys on the RDKB’s website are asking for input to help plan for the future

School District 51 staff iron out plan for return to classrooms

Teachers are looking for a comprehensive health and safety plan to be in place before June 1

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Oak Bay man stumbles upon eagle hunting seal, grabs camera just in time

The eagle did ‘a perfect butterfly stroke to shore’ with its prey, photographer says

Most Read