Rare spotted bald eagle photographed near BellinghamJanuary 13, 2013 @ 3:19 pm (Updated: 3:46 pm - 1/13/13 )
A San Juan Island photographer saw something last week she will "never forget" near Bellingham.
Thanks to her skill we can see something rare - a spotted bald eagle.
Photographers Chris Teren and Traci Walter snapped shots of eagles feeding on the Nooksack River.
Walter described the photograph she took to National Geographic.
"It was chaotic, with eagles flying and calling everywhere, then in came this eagle. It didn't take me long to figure out what we saw was something very special," she says.
"I was so excited, but I contained myself and focused on this eagle, and wound up with some great shots. I have seen a couple leucistic animals before, and figured that's what was going on."
Leucism is a mutation that prevents melanin, or pigment, from being produced in parts of an animal's body. In the case of birds, the pigment is absent from some feathers.
We don't see many eagles like that because leucistic birds are at a disadvantage. Unless they live in snowy regions, their striking white color may be more noticeable to predators or prey and may also turn off members of their own species.
Find more of Walter's amazing shots of this eagle on her website Traci Walter Photography.
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