Pennsylvania Game News - February 2014 - 52

The Naturalist's Eye
By Marcia Bonta

Partial albinos, varying from almost all-white birds
to some with just a few white feathers, are fairly
common and are reported from almost all areas.
Most birds are from half white to mostly white.

Ghost Bird
"W

hat is it?" the e-mail asked.
Attached to it were four
photos from a trail cam our caretakers,
Paula and Troy Scott, had set up behind
the spruce grove. The photos showed a
large white raptor feeding on top of a
carcass the Scotts had secured to lure in
wintering golden eagles for an ongoing

region-wide study.
Stuck inside most of last winter with
my calf injury, I eagerly awaited photos
of the many wild creatures that visited
their three trail cams. But this bird was
a real puzzle.
The raptor's back and head were
white except for the tips of a couple
black primary wing feathers, a small
black patch on top of its head and
another on its neck. Its breast, belly,
and tail coverts
were pure white
and so were the
feathers on its legs.
Then I looked at
the tail, which
was mostly white
with a couple
bands of red. The
mystery bird was a
red-tailed hawk.
Like most people who see a
white redtail, I thought I was
seeing a rarity. But according
to William S. Clark and Brian K.
Wheeler, authors of Hawks, a Peterson
Field Guide, "Partial albinos, varying

52	WWW.PENNGAMENEWS.COM


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - February 2014

Contents
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Pennsylvania Game News - February 2014 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2014 - Contents
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Pennsylvania Game News - February 2014 - 64a
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2014 - 64b
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2014 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2014 - Cover4
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