Last June, the subject of that unusually colored crow came up in the comments on this post, back when we were still anonymous, so we never let on that it lived practically outside our front door. But now it’s making news again, sort of, as one of the birds mentioned in the upcoming book that made a West Seattle author a finalist for a prestigious prize. Lyanda Lynn Haupt has been honored as a finalist for a 2008 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Prize, on behalf of “Crow Planet” — which one judge said “promises to be a fascinating and original book” giving us a window into the lives of these ubiquitous, yet mysterious, birds. Read the full citation here; more about the author at her website here. Now, as for the particular crow, known at WSB HQ as “the golden crow” (now spending time further east), she says:
Partially albinistic or leucistic crows — birds with white or light patches of feathers — are somewhat common. In albinism, all pigment is lacking; in leucism, some pigment is lacking (feathers are normally colored with layers of pigment, so if one of the color layers is missing, the feathers will be lighter or differently colored). But a fully leucistic crow like “Leucy,” as my 9-year-old daughter calls it, is quite rare. Notice that even the “bare parts” as they are called — the bill, feet, etc. are also light. Very cool bird.