THEODORE, Ala. — An Alabama woman witnessed a “one in a million” yellow cardinal enjoying her backyard.
Karem Maldonado told WKRG that she spotted the yellow cardinal that she named “Mr. Sunshine” in her yard last week and made sure to take a photo. She said she had heard about them but never saw one in person before.
“He looked at me with one eye, and then looked at me with the other,” Maldonado said.
She posted those photos to Facebook and soon received comments from people around the world who have been searching for years to find one.
Researchers at Auburn University said the yellow cardinal has a rare genetic mutation where the DNA has stopped production of red pigment.
“All animals carry a DNA code, and all animals have mutations. Certain mutations have a dramatic effect on what the organism will look like. This shows that nature is not static. It is a work in progress and is changing,” said Geoffrey Hill, an ornithologist at Auburn University.
Maldonado says she hasn’t seen “Mr. Sunshine” since she took the picture, but added another bird feeder just in case.
This isn’t the first time a yellow cardinal has been spotted in Alabama. A woman in Alabaster, Alabama, caught a rare glimpse of the bird last year.