A rare albino crow is recovering at a Burnaby wildlife rehabilitation centre after being discovered this week in North Vancouver.
The white-coloured crow – which has a rare genetic mutation resulting in a complete lack of colour – was found in a North Vancouver alley between 14th and 15th streets.
The Good Samaritan who found it noticed it appeared to be lethargic and wasn’t flying, said Vindi Sekhon, communications coordinator for the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C.
Gary Logan of North Vancouver said the crow was probably the same one he and his husband spotted earlier in the same alley.
As first, they thought the strange-looking bird was a pigeon, said Logan – but soon realized they were looking at something much more rare.
At the time, the bird was sitting on a bush grooming itself, said Logan.
“I brought my camera out and took four or five pictures,” he said.
Logan said there is a nest of crows in his back yard and he “maybe it was part of that family.”
When he looked up albino crows online, he discovered they are rare birds. “They are very rare and it’s very special if you see one,” he said.
But when he went back to check on the bird, it was gone.
Sekhon said the crow was struggling when he was brought to the wildlife centre. The bird was underweight and dehydrated, she said. Veterinary tests showed the crow had poor vision and poor quality of feathers – problems that can come with the genetic mutation that causes albinism.
Albino crows are already more vulnerable to predators “because they stick out,” she said.
And other crows “definitely know the albino crow is different. Sometimes they get bullied.”
The staff at the centre are now making sure the bird is hydrated and are feeding it a high-protein diet to help it back to health, she said.
They are hoping to be able to release the crow back into the wild, said Sekhon.
Another albino crow was being cared for at the Gibsons Rehabilitation Centre on the Sunshine Coast last year, after being rescued from the ocean.