Leucistic turkey an unusual sighting — Prof. Howe comments

Iron Mountain residents (or there-a-bouts) have had an unusual visitor this winter. A white turkey. The bird is not an albino, but has a condition noted as leucism — documented in a wide number of birds, from penguins in the Antarctic to barnacle geese in Norway. See photos. “But it seems to turn up more frequently in urban populations, researchers say. Perhaps being in an area fairly removed from natural predators allows these oddities to thrive, rather than have their coloration make them an easier target, said UW-Green Bay Prof. Robert Howe (Biology) at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.” He added that leucistic robins, spattered in white, have become fairly common. This is not the same mechanism that turns snowshoe hares, arctic foxes or several of the weasel varieties white in the winter. That is genetic and seasonal, while a leucistic individual will retain the white year-round and show this spotting from early on. Read the story.