Yellow Cardinal Sighting!

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:

Rare yellow cardinals spotted in Boyle

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:

By the Grace of God and a Female Cardinal

19 responses to “Yellow Cardinal Sighting!

  1. I live in North Carolina I’m not sure if I saw one of these birds or not but it like this one on the page but not as yellow and a RED Cardinal was flying with it.She or he was gethering soft weeds.

  2. my husband saw a yellow cardinal in our back yard and it landed on the deck railing. quite beautiful and suprizing. We didnt realize there was yellow cardinals. we live in southern Ontario

  3. I live in St Paul Minnesota, and I have never seen a yellow cardinal before but it was beautiful only thing is I didn’t get to take a picture of it the day I don’t have my camera on me this happens I was so upset. Well who knows maybe it will return.

  4. I saw two yellow cardinal’s today in Collins ville ill I saw one last.year several times and did not know what it was.will try to get a picture

  5. I live in Mi. my back door has an overhang and i have a shelf unit that i store yard things in the winter. i let the dogs out last night and there was a yellow cardinal. It blew my mind , he is still there. I got a picture of him, and hope to get more. Jan.31,2013 Awsome.

  6. Fifty yellow cardinals spotted in Loves park , IL 3pm, March5 th. 2013 Roosting in a thorny tree eating berries. Before you say no, those werent yellow cardinals. They were close enough to reach out and touch one. No mistaking these. I have lived here my 41 years and never saw one before today.

  7. Had the pleasure of seeing a “yellow” cardinal today. April 02,2013 was the first time in my husbands 67 years and my 40 years that we ever saw the bird. It was a privilege to had witnessed.

  8. We have a fledgling yellow cardinal who has been visiting our feeder for about a week with its papa cardinal. It still prefers to eat from the ground or papas mouth! I hope it stays for a while so we can see if it will be a boy or girl. Atlantic beach, FL

  9. I saw this amazing bird perched on top of the cross on the roof of our church in Oakland, CA yesterday. I thought that yellow bird looks just like a cardinal. I google-searched and discovered they are an albino and very rare. Even more rare in Northern California where you seldom see a red cardinal.

  10. I have now seen a Yellow cardinal twice I got a great look at him this morning now I want to get a picture and will work on that I am in Rocky Mount , NC I saw this on 7-24-2015. I saw one last year and was kind of skeptical about what it was but today it was very close and very clear what he was.

  11. Saw one yesterday 2-11-16 along with a cardinal that landed on our deck in front of the patio door feeding on bread crumbs. Saw the same one again today, we are in southeastern Indiana, near Sunman

  12. Just saw one, Slidell Louisiana! Got a picture. When it turned to fly off its tail was all red!

  13. I have been trying to figure out what the heck the weird bird I have had around my feeder was, I finally typed in yellow cardinal out of frustration for a search and it turns out that is actually what it is! Funny I would have one around, considering it is a genetic mutation and I just finished a course in evolution. I’m in North East Wisconsin.

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