Pictures of Rare White Turkey Seen in Auburn Hills
(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 28, 2020)
Auburn Hills, MI – An unusual visitor has been hanging around in an undisclosed location in Auburn Hills – a white turkey.
While people may be familiar with the term albino, only animals completely devoid of melanin are true albinos. For animals that have some melanin, the term is Leucistic. That means that the body produces melanin but it’s lacking in places in their skin, fur, or feathers giving the white appearance.
The one photographed in Auburn Hills did have some melanin, and that possibly it’s what is known as a gray morph, known for the black tips of their feathers. Internet research suggests gray morphs happen in about 1% of wild turkeys. However because their white feathers stand out brightly against the browns and greens of woodlands and fields, they’re an easy target for predators. Yet there is also speculation that as turkey populations continue to grow in suburban and urban areas, the chances of survival and odds of sightings have the potential to increase.
Project Feeder Watch has a good explanation of leucism for those who want to know more.
Oakland County Times reached out to Holly Vaughn, Public Outreach and Engagement Unit Manager with the Michigan Department of Nautral Resources Wildlife Division to learn more about white turkeys. She said that “albino animals are quite rare and can be a very special sighting for folks. and added that “If you see a turkey in the wild, enjoy the sighting and let the animals go on their way.”
This particular hen was not in an area open to hunting, but out of curiosity we did confirm that there is no restriction on hunting them for those with a turkey hunting license in appropriate areas.
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