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The yellow cardinal lives on

Photo: Tom Ruggles

One of the most popular posts that I've ever made on this blog involved the spectacular bird in these photos. Almost exactly three years ago, Tom Ruggles of Zanesville sent along photos of this striking North Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, but it wasn't just any old run of the mill redbird. In fact, it wasn't red at all - it was a "yellowbird"! Technically speaking, this cardinal is xanthochroic (zan-tho-kro-ik). That fancy term describes a genetic anomaly that creates yellowish overtones in birds. Rather than rehash the workings of xanthochroism here, should you be interested, don your propeller-topped beanie and see MY ORIGINAL POST.

Photo: Tom Ruggles

The lutino cardinal shares the feeding station with a male House Finch and an American Goldfinch. Without doubt, this is the coolest cardinal that I've seen.

Last Friday, I participated in the Chandlersville Christmas Bird Count, which covers the Wilds and nearby rural Muskingum County. And there I finally met Mr. Ruggles, who brought this strange cardinal to light and has no doubt fed it many pounds of seed. And to my great surprise and pleasure, Tom reported that the yellow cardinal was still very much alive and well, and remains a regular visitor at his feeders!

Finding this to be rather awesome news, I asked Tom to please send along some recent photos and he was kind enough to oblige. And here we have it - the famous yellow cardinal of Muskingum County, at least three plus years of age and still kicking. I hope that this cardinal that was touched by Midas continues on for a LONG time!

Thanks much to Tom Ruggles for sharing his photos, and doing his part to support this bird!

Comments

Vincent Lucas said…
Awesome bird and exceptionally handsome!
flux biota. said…
incredible! I've heard about these guys but never imagined they'd be such a solid yellow. Gorgeous.
Very cool! I'm not much into recycled posts, but this one was worth it.
Jim McCormac said…
Recycled post? Nothing recycled about this! Thanks for your comments!
Heather said…
Fascinating. I thought I remembered reading somewhere that Northern Cardinals happen to have particularly short life spans, so the fact that Mr. Ruggles has seen this same cardinal for at least 3 consecutive years seems mighty impressive! I would think that it's aberrant coloring might make it more prone to predation, but maybe it actually makes it less so? Very cool indeed. Do you know if yellowbird has a name?
KM Andersen said…
I'm impressed he's still alive! It's not unusual for abnormal pigmentation in birds to link to other health problems. I wonder if he has been able to attract a mate and reproduce? Thanks for the update!
Roberta said…
So fabulous!! I have never heard of
a yellow cardinal!! So beautiful & rare!! Thank you so much for sharing!
I hope he goes forth and multiplies!! ;)
I've never seen a xanthocroic cardinal...is beautiful. I suppose that such kind of mutations is the beggining of birds variations and in long times causes speciation.
MarkDrex said…
Saw an article about 2 yellow cardinals seen in Kentucky last year link is http://www.kentucky.com/2011/02/09/1628607/rare-yellow-cardinals-spotted.html
Oh, that is most excellent..! A list I'm on is discussing albino birds so am taking the opportunity to share the pics of the yellow female Cardinal that graced my North Georgia yard last year.. Was tracking you down to also share your posts about this male.. Too cool to find out he came back AGAIN.. Here's hoping the female revisits here as well.. :D

Warmest wishes from North Georgia where der Spring *is* definitely sprung'ing..! :D
Anonymous said…
I am pretty sure I have seen a yellow cardinal in my tree.. I tried to get pics,I did, but they are not the best..Hurrying before they left.
Ann said…
I am pretty sure I just saw one of these outside on the feeder...the yellow beak and tuft of hair, yellow breast with the gray on wings. Very Cool!
Sharlette White said…
OK I came by this post because I saw one of these at my daughter's house in Tulsa, OK. I had never heard or seen one. I see now that they do exist. How interesting. I'll see if I can get her to get a photo of it.
Anonymous said…
Spotted in Burton Ohio on 3-23-13
mary texas said…
too cool that so rocks made my day mary from texas
patti said…
Never seen one of these - until yesterday. Saw a pair of them on a tree outside of the Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center in Bath, OH. No one knew what they were!

Patti from Avon OH
Anonymous said…
It's xanthochromic -- literally, yellow-colored.
James said…
Seen a female, I believe, the morning of September 15th in Shreveport, LA. She had been around since the end of August but is quick to fly away when I try to get outside with a good camera. Saw her again this morning as I was holding my 3 month old. Had to get what I could on the phone. She is about the same color as the yellow finch feeder. Have a look:

http://t.co/kXSpaXuE6W

http://t.co/1wOOk6E2Ci

http://t.co/MkMNpFdkUG
Corrie Estes said…
i live in maryland and just seen what seems to be a female of this bird it looks young and i hope it comes back for a photo shoot...
Unknown said…
I just saw one in Chardon, Ohio!
Unknown said…
We have one in Sewickley, Pa. She did mate and has 3 babies in the best right now. This is the 3rd year I have seen her. I can't get a very good photo of her as she doesn't seem to like her picture taken.
Kelli Wray said…
We have one in Sewickley, Pa. She has a nest with 3 babies. She has been around for the last 3years. I can never get a good photo of her as she doesn't seem to like her picture taken.

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