by
Laurel Rockefeller

June 15th, 2003, a faint pecking is heard by three lutino chicks huddled together in a pine nesting box. Slowly a crack forms in the nearby egg next to them, an egg that the watching humans nearby did not expect to hatch. With one last bit of effort with her beak tooth, the chick breaches the shell. The sides fall open and she is free at last. She is a tiny runt against much larger older siblings. As her parents feed her, her older brothers and siblings constantly try to crowd her out and keep her from being fed, but she hangs on, daily beating the odds. Slowly, creamy white feathers start to grow in, no one noticing that no cheek patch was forming. Among her lutino siblings and parents, this runt was different, a mutant.

Full story with pictures here