February 24, 2017
Congratulations to Larry Keller of Lititz, Pennsylvania, our latest BirdSpotter People’s Choice Award winner! Larry’s photo of a leucistic House Finch captured the attention of our voters. For the second year in a row, a snowstorm blew in this beauty to Larry’s feeders!
Identifying birds with color variations is tricky! These variations aren’t in any field guides, and sometimes the abnormality removes key field marks. If you see a strange-looking bird, use size, shape, and behavior to help identify the bird. Comparing the strange bird with other birds nearby can be helpful.
This House Finch has patches of white feathers, meaning it is a pied leucistic bird. The white patches are caused by the absence of the melanin pigment in some feathers. You can tell the finch is not an albino because of patchy colored feathers and its beak, feet, and eyes are black. Albino birds cannot produce the pigment. As a result, an albino bird as pink beak, feet, and eyes. FeederWatch has a guide to unusual birds; find out more!
Voting on the BirdSpotter Grand Prize winners begins Saturday, February 25. Who will take the top honors? You decide! See all the winning BirdSpotter photos that are contending for prizes from the Cornell Lab and our sponsor, Wild Bird Unlimited.