A beautiful site to see as the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation on Wednesday shared footage of a rare white bald eagle that was spotted “Just in time for that World Cup win” by the U.S. national soccer team over Iran.
Bald Eagles have been the National emblem for the United States since 1782. They are a majestic birds of prey identifiable by their white crowns and tail feathers.
The white feathers are in stark contrast their dark brown bodies and wings.
The Oklahoma sighting involved a leucistic bald eagle. Leucism is a wide variety of conditions that result in the partial loss of pigmentation in an animal—causing white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales, or cuticles, but not the eyes. It is occasionally spelled leukism.
Leucistic animals are mostly white, but not considered albino. “Leucistic bald eagles are rare,” the ODWC emphasized in its tweet.
The footage was captured by Justin Bailey and the ODWC stated that “while there isn’t any way to confirm that this is the same one that pulled through repeatedly along the Illinois River last year, we’re still PUMPED to have this homie hanging around our neck of the woods.”
Bald Eagles are large raptors found throughout North America. They prey mostly on fish, and will often steal fish captured by other predators.
Here’s a fun stat courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
“Had Benjamin Franklin prevailed, the U.S. emblem might have been the Wild Turkey. In 1784, Franklin disparaged the national bird’s thieving tendencies and its vulnerability to harassment by small birds.”
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