Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Albino Deer and Channel Photos

When my friend, Helen, and I were heading back to my house the other night we were treated to deer seemingly every where. First I got a shot of deer over by First Creek at the end of Woodland Park.

I didn't get a photo, but there were a dozen or so deer by Sable Falls. Then after driving up the hill just west of the falls, we were surprised when we spotted deer right next to the road, including the albino.

Albinoism is a recessive trait found in mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, plants, and even humans. Both parents must have the recessive gene for it to manifest in the offspring. This recessive gene does not allow the albino to have normal coloration because they don't produce the enzyme responsible for skin, hair, and tissue pigment.

The poor guy seemed to be limping a bit. At first I thought the darker area on his back right leg is an injury, but I have now been educated by my son, Jonathan, that it is instead a scent gland. He also had dirt on his face.

The eyes of a true albino are pink because blood vessels behind the lenses show through the unpigmented irises. The white color makes it hard for albino deer to conceal themselves. I don't think it is a coincidence that this albino deer seems to hang out near a white birch forest. I looked up on the Internet how frequent it is to see an albino white tail deer. From what I can tell only one in a million is an albino, although some references said the number is closer to one in every 30,000.

Like me, Helen was a summer kid in Grand Marais. She now lives in Marquette and has not been back to town much this past few years. So for old time sake we drove around a bit. Here are some shots I took down on the end of Coast Guard Point.

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