White feathers, blue eyes, nothing to crow about
A RARE white leucistic crow is the most recent patient in the WIRES Northern Rivers ranks.
WIRES volunteers were recently called to a report of a bird that couldn't fly in Lismore.
At first, volunteers thought the snow-white crow was albino.
Not an albino
However, the bird's light-blue eyes are an indicator that it's actually leucistic.
True albinism is caused by a complete lack of melanin, which is the naturally occurring pigment that gives colour to skin, feathers, hair and eyes.
This means that albinos generally have very pale or pink eyes, as the blood vessels show through.
Leucism, on the other hand, is a partial loss of pigmentation, which can result in white or patchy coloured skin, hair or feathers.
Unfortunately, few albino or leucistic animals survive into adulthood in the wild, most often due to eyesight problems or harassment by other birds.
Underweight and tattered
The crow in WIRES care is underweight, tattered and too young to fly properly.
Carers will work to help the bird gain weight and strength before undergoing a full veterinary examination.
Following rehabilitation and depending on the examination, the crow will either be released back into the wild or in a sanctuary.
All help gratefully accepted
WIRES carers are in short supply and the organisation is calling for more volunteers, particularly for bird care.
Their next training day will be on Sunday December 6.
To find out more or sign up, call the 24-hour hotline on 6628 1898 or email email@example.com
WIRES is a registered charity, not a government service, and relies heavily on donations from the general public.