Tracking Down the “Albino Twins”

Around 2008 a popular photo went viral on the internet. The photo showed two young albino deer in a snow-covered backyard eating from a feeder. What was unique about the photo–besides the two white deer–was the buck-shaped outline that decorated the feeder. 

People wondered where the photo was taken.  Like a game of “telephone,” however, the picture’s source was soon lost and various websites claimed the picture was taken in Montana, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Idaho, and even Texas (even though Texas virtually never gets snow).

On March 24, 2008 the photo was featured on the Outdoor Oddities website and subsequently attracted thousands of viewers, including the one person who could finally set the record straight—the photographer himself.

It turns out the photo was taken by Tim Roeschlein from his house near Wahkon, Minnesota-–a short distance from Father Hennepin State Park where there is a small population of white deer. The twin fawns (one male and one female) started coming to Tim’s feeder in 2006.

The deer-head outline on the feeder is actually the logo for Browning Firearms. Tim had made the feeder to enter a Browning contest. Tim is an avid hunter but says: “They (the white deer) are truly things of beauty and I would never shoot one…”

“I see them as a gift from God and not a food source… (There) are many hunters like myself that realize the need to preserve our rare and unique wildlife for future generations to enjoy.”

“The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (says) albino deer are bad for the herd and should be shot. I think they are missing the point. Albino deer are very rare. Now consider how much more (rare) albino twins would be. It’s astronomical!!”

A January 15, 2009 update on the Outdoor Oddities webpage reads: “The local news station did a video news story concerning the pair of albino deer. Seems they are 2 years old and are named Snowflake and Snowball.“

A July 11, 2009 comment from Tim adds: “The twins are still around. They are three years old this year and nearing adulthood. They are establishing their own home ranges so they don’t travel together anymore.”

Now, eleven years later, the pictures of the albino twins can still be found on various outdoor websites, but another question remains:  What happened to the famous “albino twins”? 

Hopefully they lived long lives and died natural deaths.  Unfortunately, Minnesota no longer has white deer protection, so this may not have been the case.

It is still heartening to know these deer brought so much joy to so many people—either at Tim’s feeder or from the thousands of views of their photographs on websites across the country.

2020 Note: Feeding deer is now prohibited in central and southeastern Minnesota because of concerns over the spread of CWD. This includes Mille Lacs County where the albino twins were photographed. Feeding deer is also prohibited in most of Wisconsin.