A resident in Alabaster, Alabama was treated to an extremely rare bird sighting when she looked at her bird feeder in her back yard. There, perched on the feeder was a blazing yellow cardinal.
Cardinals are usually bright red, so this color mutation is literally a “one in a million”.
The yellow cardinal is so rare that one ornithologist says that, if there were a million or so backyard bird feeders in the United States and Canada, just two or three would get a visit from one. The yellow feathers are result of a rare genetic mutation that blocks its ability to assimilate red hues.
“I thought ‘Well there’s a bird I’ve never seen before,'” Charlie Stephenson told AL.com. “Then I realized it was a cardinal, and it was a yellow cardinal.”
Needless to say, the extremely rare sighting has birdwatchers very excited. Although Stephenson didn’t reveal the bird’s exact location to avoid a stampede of birdwatchers in her backyard, photographer Jeremy Black was lucky enough to get the location from her and after five hours of looking spotted the bird.
“This morning Charlie Stephenson provided me with the opportunity to photograph the most captivating cardinal in Alabaster, Alabama. This yellow cardinal displays a rare mutation that causes the metabolic process to produce a different type of pigment than the typical red coloration. According to a biologist from Auburn University, this mutation is so rare that only one is seen each year in the United States.”
Stephenson was very lucky and spotted the bird a second time.
“This evening I got lucky enough to spot the rare yellow cardinal again in Alabaster, Alabama. I’m so grateful to be able to share these portraits with you all,” Jeremy wrote on Facebook on February 19.
Auburn University biology professor Geoffrey Hill, who studies cardinals, is quite envious of the sighting, saying “I’ve been birdwatching in the range of cardinals for 40 years and I’ve never seen a yellow bird in the wild,” he said.
You can watch footage of this beautiful bird in the video below.
This winter has seen a number of unusual bird sightings in North America making it a wonderful year for bird enthusiasts on the continent.
Share this amazing bird sighting with your family and friends.