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Northern Cardinal

Posted by Jeremiah Vreeland on April 25, 2022 at 10:06 am
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Photo was taken June 21, 2021 in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. This “one in a million” yellow Northern Cardinal decided to spend the 2021 mating season (April – September) visiting our backyard in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. I spent those five months trying to document the rare bird as much as humanly possible. The yellow cardinal left our yard in Sept. of 2021 and has recently returned seven months later on April 3rd, 2022.

Of the 15 million red Northern Cardinals along the eastern U.S., only 10-15 yellow cardinals are thought to be alive at any given time. On average, there are 2-3 sightings per year in North America. The yellow coloring of the male cardinal, instead of the red, is caused by a genetic mutation. The mutation blocks the normal red pigment a male cardinal derives from the carotenoids in its food and replaces it with yellow pigment.