ALABASTER, AL (WIAT) — A rare bird has been spotted in Alabama.
Chances are you’ve seen the typical red cardinal before, but what about a yellow cardinal?
A wildlife photographer lucked out and captured a beautiful image of the unexpected.
Charlie Stephenson lives in a quaint neighborhood near the new Thompson High School and Alabaster Intermediate School.
Stephenson spotted the yellow feathered cardinal in her backyard. She reached out to Auburn University biologist Geoffrey Hill, who explained just how rare the find was.
“Just looking out my back window and I saw a yellow bird far back in the yard and when I realized that’s a cardinal and it’s yellow,” said Stephenson.
In fact, the Yellow American Northern Cardinal is yellow because of a rare mutation that blocks a pathway which reduces the red pigment.
Now the bird is being spotted all over the Alabaster area.
“I was hoping that OK, this is not a hoax,” said Jeremy Black. “Some people were thinking it was photoshopped and I was like I have to see this if it’s here I really want to see this, so I sat there and I sat on the screened in pavilion trying to hide from it a little bit so it wouldn’t see me within about 4 or 5 hours it finally landed.”
Stephenson allowed Black, a local photographer, to camp out in her yard to get a shot of the rare find.
His picture is now being shared all over social media.
“It’s insane,” said Black. “It’s exciting, I wake up to 1,600 notifications on Facebook to the point where my Facebook app is glitching out, but it’s really exciting to know that my passion is being able to be shared with so many people that aren’t typically exposed to this kind of thing.”
Black tells WIAT he hopes to be able to catch the yellow cardinal next to the normal red cardinal for a photo.
In the meantime, Stephenson says the Auburn University biologist plans to visit Alabaster to check out the find for himself.