Dave Murnen, Jake Burroughs, Tom Rowley and I conducted a raptor survey on October 13, 2022 on the Ocean Shores beach that was marked by two firsts. It was the first time to band three Peregrine Falcons during the same survey. And, for first time, a Peregrine Falcon showing leucism was captured and banded (a first-year female; as of this writing, we’ve banded 242 peregrines on the three study area beaches). Leucism a relatively common genetic condition in animals that results in partial loss of pigmentation. It should not be confused with albinism, which is a total loss of pigmentation in skin, fur or feathers (all white animals, with eyes red).
Also notable here is that on September 15 Ocean Shores photographer Skip Radcliffe photographed what in all likelihood was the same individual that we banded in October. At the time Skip texted the photos below, simply adding “un-banded today.”
Dave Murnen holds what appears to be the same individual (Ocean Shores beach, October 13).
In the photos below I hold a juvenile male Peregrine Falcon banded on the same day we captured the leucistic falcon. This falcon has the brown plumage typical of our coastal peregrines in their first year (Peale’s Peregrines: Falco peregrinus pealei; 192 of the total banded as of this writing).
I was hoping we’d get a chance to band the leucistic falcon, and it appears that we did! She now wears visual identification band 32/B. We look forward to encounters with this Gray Ghost during future surveys…fingers crossed that we do!