Canadian photographer snaps photos of rare white loon

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Canadian photographer snaps photos of rare white loon

Photographer Chris Whitty recently found himself at the right place at the right time when he captured an image of a rare white loon.

At the end of the breeding season, adult loons molt — transitioning from their black-and-white plumage into their gray-and-white winter plumage, according to the Loon Preservation Committee.

It is not common for a loon to be entirely white, making Whitty’s find quite unique. 

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Whitty, who lives in western Canada, describes himself as an “amateur and hobbyist photographer.”

He told Fox News Digital in an email that he encountered the bird four years ago and took shots from a distance of what he initially thought was a white-and-gray loon.

A rare white loon swimming alongside other loons in a Canadian lake was photographed by Chris Whitty. (Chris Whitty)

Loons are excellent swimmers due to the placement of their legs far back on their body, with bones that are denser than the bones of most other flying birds, according to the Loon Preservation Committee’s website. 

“Their heavy bones make loons less buoyant, which helps them to dive, according to the Loon Preservation Committee,” the site continued.

Whitty said he enjoys taking his kayak along with his camera out to lakes in British Columbia, Canada, in the spring and summer.

He said he usually encounters loons, herons, turtles and eagles.

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“I never saw [the white loon] again… until one day this spring, I was driving out to the shoreline of that same lake, and could see a few loons grouped near the shore, and as I rounded the corner to where I could park, saw the white one was with them,” Whitty said.

white loon

White loons are considered rare compared to their typical striking black-and-white or gray-and-white plumage. (Chris Whitty)

He realized it was the white loon right away, snapping a few shots from the shore before jumping into his kayak.

“[I] was able to paddle in a wide circle to get the light behind me, and just sat and drifted along nearby taking pictures,” he said. 

“They were not bothered by my presence, and I managed to get a lot of shots before they all took off together.”

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“I figured that it was for another several years, or maybe forever. But then a week later, I found the white bird again,” he said.

The loon’s large, webbed feet help the bird to steer better underwater, according to the Loon Preservation Committee. 

white loon thumb

“The loon’s large, webbed feet provide propulsion and steering underwater,” the Loon Preservation Committee’s website says. (Chris Whitty)

“I went out to the same lake, at the same time, for nine more days straight… and nothing. And haven’t seen it since,” Whitty said.

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“I am not a bird expert by any means, but my guess on the pattern is that I have seen this bird as it makes its way to somewhere it actually lives/nests, and my run-ins were stopovers along the journey,” Whitty wrote in his email.

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The loon is the state bird of Minnesota, which borders Canada.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Loon Preservation Committee for additional comment.

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