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‘One in a year’ albino blackbird spotted in family’s front garden

PUBLISHED: 13:51 29 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:51 29 May 2020

An albino blackbird spotted in Horsham St Faith. Picture: Natasha Covell

An albino blackbird spotted in Horsham St Faith. Picture: Natasha Covell

Natasha Covell

A mum-of-two has spoken of her family’s glee after a spotting “once in a year” bird-watcher’s dream in her own front garden.

An albino blackbird spotted in Horsham St Faith. Picture: Natasha CovellAn albino blackbird spotted in Horsham St Faith. Picture: Natasha Covell

Natasha Covell and her children Adam, 12, and Maisie, nine, have been spending lockdown twitching in the front garden of their Horsham St Faith home.

The family has been particularly taken by a group of blackbirds, who have chosen the front garden of their home in The Warren to nest.

However, the family were shocked and delighted when they spotted one of the blackbirds in particular - as unlike the others it was entirely white.

With its red eyes and pale legs, the bird has been identified by experts as an extremely rare albino blackbird - which are generally only seen once a year in the county.

An albino blackbird spotted in Horsham St Faith. Picture: Natasha CovellAn albino blackbird spotted in Horsham St Faith. Picture: Natasha Covell

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Miss Covell, 31, said: “I was just so surprised and shocked to see it. First off I thought it might have been a baby dove or something, but when I Googled it albino blackbird came up, which are apparently very rare.

“My children were shocked and surprised too. Knowing rare they are it made us all feel really special to know it had chosen our garden.

“We’ve been trying to think of a name for it but we’ve still got that job to do.”

Paul Stancliffe, of the British Trust for Ornithology, which is based in Thetford, said the red eyes gave the bird away as being albino, rather than leucistic, which in itself is still rare.

He said: “All white Blackbirds aren’t always albinos. More often than not they are leucistic birds. Leucistic birds can just show one or two white feathers, or can be wholly white, however, their eyes are normally the natural colour and the bare parts are dark. Whilst rare, all white leucistc Blackbirds are seen more often than pure albinos.

“You probably see leucistic birds about four times a year, but this one is definitely albino, which is even rarer. In these parts you probably only get one albino blackbird a year, so she was very lucky indeed.

“It is thought that their eyesight is poorer than it would normally be and, combined with the fact they stand out, they are often easy prey to predators so don’t normally survive long.”


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