Unusual white quail spotted in Cuyamaca - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Unusual white quail spotted in Cuyamaca

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - An unusual white quail has been spotted in Cuyamaca, and there's a good chance you'll never see it in person.

Lucy and Tom Sacksteder just happened to have their camera handy when one popped up on their property off Lake Cuyamaca.

"When I first saw it, it looked like a marshmallow going through the yard," Tom said.

That marshmallow turned out to be a rare white quail.

"The first pictures I took were blurred because I was shaking so badly. I was nervous," Tom said.

Phil Unit is the curator of birds at the San Diego Natural History Museum. He says it's mostly a California quail and the odds of seeing a white one are one in several thousand. A genetic disorder causes the pigment change, and that's not a good thing.

"Because white birds, white animals, is generally going to be much more conspicuous to predators than one that's the normal color," Unit explained.

Tom and Lucy have seen thousands of quails on their property. If you do the math, it's probably the first and last time it'll happen.

"My sister said you guys gotta go out and get a lottery ticket, that's pretty lucky," Lucy said.

Unit adds that this wasn't a full albino quail, which would have been even more rare. It was still special nonetheless.

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