Until December 30th, I knew nothing about leucism. To be honest, I had never heard the word before. Leucism is a rare genetic condition that results in the loss of some pigmentation. It can affect a wide range of creatures but has been witnessed most often with regard to birds.
We all know what albinism is. It is a total absence of pigment. Albino creatures are pink-eyed and usually have poor eyesight. In the wild, they tend not to last for very long. This is down to absence of natural camouflage and their poor eyesight. They are also often rejected by their own species.
You might say that leucism is halfway between albinism and normality.
Shirley and I saw "our" leucistic blackbird pecking away at an apple as blackbirds like to do in the wintertime. It was too far away for me to photograph at first but later it came much closer to our house and I was able to snap it through the glass of our kitchen door. If I had opened the door for a clearer view, I am sure the bird would have scooted off straightaway.
I am not sure which is rarer - a lesser spotted woodpecker or a leucistic blackbird but I may have lost a penny and found a pound on this one.
We haven't seen that most unusual blackbird since we spotted it on December 30th but I hope it comes back. There are fresh apples on the lawn waiting for it to feast upon.