One of the Rarest Cardinals in the World Was Recently Spotted in Tennessee
I'm not much of a birdwatcher. Sure, I think birds are neat and beautiful, but I'm just not educated enough to know what kinds of birds I'm looking at, or what kind I should be looking for. I have no idea what birds are rare and endangered, or common and plentiful. I am a little bit more knowledgeable now, though, thanks to some pictures taken by a woman in Tennessee.
Catherine Reddick sees lots of beautiful birds, and she likes to share pictures of those birds on the East Tennessee Birding Facebook page. Catherine was recently able to snap some pics of one of the rarest birds in North America - a Yellow Cardinal - which she spotted near her home. Most of us will probably never see a yellow cardinal in person, in the wild - Catherine, however, has seen a yellow cardinal (the same one, but still) not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions. She shared the pics and asked the public to help name her new visitor, and the public did not disappoint. This yellow beauty is now known as WOODSTOCK. Absolutely perfect, isn't it?
How Rare Are Yellow Cardinals?
It is estimated that there are approximately 12 million cardinals in North America, and about 12 of those are yellow. I'm no math major, but even can figure out that means you literally have a one-in-a-million chance of seeing a yellow cardinal.
Why Are They Yellow?
To answer this question, it's first important to know why most cardinals are red. "Normal" cardinals have the ability to transform pigments in the food they eat into their signature red coloration. Yellow cardinals, however, have a mutation in their DNA - they lack an enzyme that turns yellow pigment into red. So, basically, yellow cardinals are kinda like avian X-Men. That is so cool!