“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,” Walter told National Geographic News by email.
“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.”
Indeed, the animal likely has leucism, according to Andrew Griswold, an expert on bald eagles and director of ecotravel for the Connecticut Audubon Society.
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.