Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Albinism

Albinio birds in the wild are often harassed by their own kind. Nero (1954) cited a completely white red-winged blackbird in an immense Sept. flock that was chased repeatedly by its companions, yet it always returned to the flock. In Ore., an albino barn swallow was constantly chased by others of its kind, and another near Stone Dam, NY, all-white but with dark eyes (incomplete albinism), was chased by other barn swallows whenever it flew. Cherry Kearton (1931) British ornithologist, in his studies of S. African penguins, wrote that three freakish young in a nesting colony (one had an entirely black head, another a white head, the third was completely albino) were friendless, shunned, and generally abused by their companions.
--The Audubon Society Encyclopdia of North American Birds

6 Comments:

Blogger Kirby Olson said...

I wonder if there's any way the Nature Conservancy could paint the little fellows, and then release them back into the heard. Some eco-friendly Audubon could probably do a good job, and spare the birds a chromatically challenged existence.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Kirby Olson said...

The problem is genetic, and sadly the one singular bird has to be tossed out by the regular bunch in order to retain their genetic efficiency. The coloring functions, the lack of coloring doesn't, at least in bird flocks. The bottom line is functionality?

I suppose my Audubon suggestion would help the bird but not the bird's descendents, which would also be more likely to be albino. Albino birds probably have a disadvantage in terms of their ability to hunt effectively among other things?

7:03 AM  
Blogger Michael Andre said...

It‘s hard to know what to make of the social reaction to albinism. At one point I owned a late 19th century field guide to birds. It was surprisingly similar in appearance to Peterson‘s guides. However the text was odd. Each species was evaluated morally. Some birds were noble and good; others ignoble.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Kirby Olson said...

That seems like an excellent idea as long as you know the criterion.

Apparently all birds can be traced ot the dinosaurs so that if someone asks you is there such a thing as talking dinosaurs the correct answer would be oui, oui.

Parrots.

4:27 PM  
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