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Rare white raven spotted at Coombs farm has birders flying high
Bird-watchers are flocking to central Vancouver Island in hopes of spotting a rare white raven.
Reports have surfaced of the striking bird visiting a farm in Coombs over the past week.
The farm's owner says she's lived there for 53 years and has never before seen this type of bird.
"It's really neat to see, like it's such a blessing," said Patricia Kroot.
But if lore associated with white ravens is to be believed, it could be a very good omen – or a very bad one.
"We've done research on the spirit raven and what it means. Either the end of the world, or bringing more peace to a chaotic time, so we're grounding onto that theory," said Kroot.
Avid birders who have travelled to the area hoping to catch a glimpse say they haven't seen a white raven since a group of them was seen near Qualicum Beach in 2013.
"To produce the white raven, you have two black ravens mating and they both have to have the same recessive gene," said Mike Yip, an amateur photographer who was one of the lucky few to snap a photos of the raven. "When that happens, it's extremely rare, and so to have it happen twice would be extremely rare out here. So I don't know if the original pair is still here, or if this is a new pair."
Yip said while the raven's feathers are pure white, it's not technically albino because it still has blue eyes, a condition referred to as leucistic.
Not seen since 2013, a white raven has been spotted several times on a #Qualicum farm. The rare sightings have birders flocking to the area to hopefully catch a glimpse. @CTVNewsVI (Photos Courtesy: Mike Yip) pic.twitter.com/wd3l7e2yfM— Andrew Garland (@CTVNewsAndy) July 4, 2018