Albino pheasant a once in a generation deal for Forsgren pheasant family
Albino squirrel, ferrets, snakes, penguins…even albino kookaburra birds.
The most recent case in the Pelican Rapids lakes area: An albino chick at the Forsgren Pheasant Farm, north of Pelican Rapids.
It’s a one in a million occurence at the Forsgren operation. About 20 years ago, there were four in one season—but not a single albino since, said Colby Forsgren, the fourth generation pheasant producer.
“We couldn’t believe it,” said Colby of the newborn chick. Based on the Forsgren pheasant output, which is usually up around 100,000 per year, the math suggests odds of one per 1.5 million.
Colby kept the chick separate from the rest of the flock, initially. He was concerned that bird might face a form of “pheasant prejudice,” which can exist in nature. But last week, the chick was put in with the rest of the gang.
Although rare in nature, albino animals have been spotted everywhere from the skies to the seas. These unique creatures have partial or complete loss of pigmentation, hence their pale skin tone compared to other members of their species.
The Forsgren pheasant operation dates to 1968, when Carl started raising the birds. The family farm continued under Darrel; then Mike, now Colby. Warren is the fifth generation, and Colby hopes he’ll carry on the tradition. At the current rate, young Warren may experience an albino pheasant chick in about year 2041—when he’s a young man of about 20 years of age.
Most of the Forsgrens’ production is shipped to game farms and sportsman’s clubs, to bolster regional pheasant populations. For example, said Colby, the family ships up to 8,000 a year to a couple sportsmens clubs in western North Dakota, for stocking and re-population.
The Press pulled information from several internet sources.
From snails and fish to robins and deer, albinism has been observed in a wide range of animals. Albinism is the result of cells that can’t produce melanin, the pigment needed to color skin, scales, eyes and hair. This genetic condition gets passed to offspring when both parents carry the recessive gene, according to internet sources.
The two most common species of albino birds are the common house martin and the American robin. Famous albino birds include “Snowdrop,” a Bristol Zoo penguin.
Albinism is the congenital absence of any pigmentation or coloration in an animal, plant, or person, resulting in white hair, feathers, scales and skin and pink eyes in mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish and invertebrates as well. Varied use and interpretation of the terms mean that written reports of albinistic animals can be difficult to verify.
Albinism can reduce the survivability of an animal; for example, it has been suggested that albino alligators have an average survival span of only 24 hours due to the lack of protection from UV radiation and their lack of camouflage to avoid predators.
It is a common misconception that all albino animals have characteristic pink or red eyes (resulting from the lack of pigment in the iris allowing the blood vessels of the retina to be visible), however this is not the case for some forms of albinism.