Normally among North American birds, a male cardinal is red, and a female cardinal is brown. But what does an albino cardinal look like? Did you say white? No, a cardinal short on feather pigment is more likely to be pink or yellow, because the dominant pigment they have is red.
Yellow cardinals are so rare that the first one wasn’t captured until 1989. Now today the local newspaper reported sightings of two yellow cardinals at a bird feeder in Gravel Switch, KY. I looked on a map, and Gravel Switch is 45 miles southwest of here, located halfway between Danville and Lebanon.
Disclaimer: There is a bird in Argentina and Uruguay called the yellow cardinal, but that’s a finch with a crest. We’re talking about a mutated North American cardinal here.
Here’s the news story:
A few days earlier, more pictures of the birds appeared here:
And here is a technical explanation of how they got to be that color (a PDF file):
So why am I writing about this? Well, Kentucky has more than its share of wild birds, and this shows they still have some surprises for us. Moreover, I have a soft spot for cardinals, since Leive, Lindy and I rescued one in 2006. Later in the same year I speculated that may be one reason why I am now in Kentucky, because I was living in Florida when the incident happened: