Why Is This Northern Cardinal Yellow? | Audubon

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Why Is This Northern Cardinal Yellow?

Yes, that is a cardinal. We asked experts how this redbird might have gotten its golden feathers.

By Purbita Saha
February 22, 2018

The bombshell yellow Northern Cardinal from Alabama (left) compared to a regular old Northern Cardinal (right). Photos: Jeremy Black Photography; Diane Wurzer/Audubon Photography Awards

“If you see one cardinal, you’ve seen them all,” said no one ever. As common as they are, Northern Cardinals rank among the most-loved birds in the eastern United States (unless you’re a Chicago Cubs fan). The National Audubon Society should know: Our Facebook followers can’t seem to get enough of them.

So, it’s no surprise when a cardinal turns heads—except in Charlie Stephenson’s case, where that double take may have resulted in some whiplash. Back in January, she found an impossibly bright male in her backyard in Alabaster, Alabama. But instead of the typical ruby-red color…

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