Posted by: cherylyoung | April 13, 2012


Rare white ravens are increasingly turning up in

Qualicum Beach, where another one was

photographed last week.

The sightings are making the Island town a popular

 stop on the birding circuit.

Nanoose photographer Mike Yip, who photographed

 a white raven near Qualicum’s ballfields Friday, has

 seen five of the rare birds over the last three years.

“They’ve been a local phenomena for well over a

decade,” said Yip in an e-mail.

Local legend has it that eight years ago, some golfers

at Morningstar golf course saw four white ravens

perched on the same branch.

The reason may be genetic.

 White ravens are the result of the mating of two

 common ravens with the same genetic defect.

The same pair could produce many generations

of white ravens, since common black ravens are

 monogamous and long-lived.

“Under ideal conditions they could live well over

 20 years,” said Yip, author of Vancouver Island

Birds, volumes 1, 2 and 3.

The white ravens are not albinos, said Yip, noting all

the ones he’s seen have blue eyes.

Albinos have pink eyes, while white ravens that are

 not all white or do not have pink eyes are

considered leucistic.

Leucism is the result of a reduction of all types of

 pigmentation while albinism is the reduction of

 just melanin.

White Raven Legend

BC’s coastal nations tell of Raven giving light to

 the world

 Raven symbolizes creation, knowledge and prestige.

 He is wise, crafty and helpful.

Diane’s husband has ancestors which he can trace

 back to the Athabascan, a First Nation tribe that

 lives  in Canada and interior Alaska and to the

Native American Crow.

He is very proud of his ancestry and has several

 prints of Teutonic art.

 One of the prints features Raven and Cedar.

There are many varied legends about Raven.

 On how Raven turned white is a favorite legend of

 Diane and Mike’s. –

 There was a time when darkness covered the earth;

the sun had been stolen.

After much searching, Raven found the sun.

With the sun in Raven’s bill, Raven began the long

 journey to return the sun turning white during the

 trip due to the brightness of the sun

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