Burnfoot sighting of rare blackbird with white feathers

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A rare white blackbird has been spotted recently in Burnfoot, writes Lorna Robertson.

Birdwatcher Andy Cook captured the unusual albino blackbird on camera during one of its visits to his back garden in Hillend Drive.

The bird, defying its namesake, still has the striking yellow bill of a blackbird, however, its feathers are white.

Mr Cook, 66, took the photograph while the blackbird stopped for a peck at the seed he had left out in his garden. A retired builder, he told the Hawick News: “I’d seen it come and go a couple of times but I hadn’t been able to get a picture because it was quite skittish. However, I managed to get a picture through the window.

“They’re quite rare, I think, well I’ve never seen one before anyway.”

Mr Cook’s outdoor pursuits have brought him into contact with a wide variety of birds over the years.

He explained: “I go fishing and walking and they’re something I just kept my eyes open for along the way.

“I’ve learnt a lot of the names and details from books but it’s more about getting out there.”

The white blackbird is rare not only because it is a recessive characteristic, but also because its bright
feathers stand out to predators.