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

Grand Forks community centre open house set for Jan. 23 at the aquatic centre

Designers and the development committee will be at the aquatic centre from 4 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 23

Boundary Family Services takes over shelter management in Grand Forks

The organization got Grand Forks city council’s approval on Jan. 15

OPINION: Reflecting on a Greaser’s last words

What it means to stay gold and to look for the gold in others

Border Bruins fall after roller-coaster week

Border Bruins beat the Nelson Leafs on Jan. 14 in overtime, then fell 10-4 to them on Sunday

Ktunaxa, supporters celebrate protection of Qat’muk and the Jumbo valley

Speeches, acknowledgements and ceremonies mark an emotional gathering in Cranbrook

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Protesters block B.C. government building entrance to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Most Read