The chestnut-backed chickadee is the type of chickadee we usually get in our area.
They always visit in small flocks and are quite “chatty” and animated.
Last September I noticed a different looking bird in the garden.
This mostly white bird behaved like a chickadee.
I carefully got closer to the window with my camera.
I was able to take a few photos, but the light made focusing difficult.
And my dirty window didn’t help either. 😉
This strange little guy didn’t stick around for very long.
After the bird flew off I googled “white chickadee”.
That’s when I learned about leucistic birds.
A leucistic bird has reduced pigmentation in its feathers.
This can be partial or complete and features bilateral symmetry.
The eyes however are black in this genetic condition,
unlike albinos which have red eyes and legs.
Leucistic birds often don’t survive very long.
Their different appearance makes it difficult to learn all the
“regular chickadee behavior”,
like songs and calls and can be a hindrance in finding a mate.
After the brief encounter through my window, I was on alert.
The next day the chickadee came back and stayed a bit longer.
Still, it was very shy and difficult to photograph.
It bathed, it nibbled on sunflower and thistle seeds.
It was very exciting since I’d never seen a leucistic bird before.
Originally I had wondered if it was an albino bird.
Anyway, this little guy flew off not long after and hasn’t come back since.
What a special visit!!