Nature is full of surprises. There are 5 foot long salamanders, beetles that shoot fire, and mysteries like the platypus. Yet even the most commonplace animals can have unique differences.
The most well-known of these variations is albinism: a lack of pigmentation in a living thing that results in their skin and fur appearing white. Yet animals can feature other unusual colors too.
Take, for example, the brightly-colored bird that appeared in Charlie Stephenson’s yard.
When Stephenson checked her bird feeder last January, she discovered something odd.
Stephenson is an avid birdwatcher from Alabaster, Alabama. She set up a bird feeder in her backyard to see what feathered friends would come by, usually attracting fairly common birds from the area.
Yet, one day, she noticed something strange feeding on birdseed.
It was a cardinal unlike any she had seen before. Instead of sporting the classic red look, this bird had bright yellow feathers!
Having never seen anything like it before, she posted a video of the bird to Facebook. The video started blowing up and she soon learned how rare the bird truly was.
There are certain species of cardinals that always have a yellow coloration but those typically live in Central and South America. The bird in Stephenson’s video was not that but rather a northern cardinal with a coloration so rare the phrase “one in a million” might actually be an understatement!
Once the video started making rounds on the internet, there was a lot of speculation over its legitimacy. Yet the majority weren’t willing to visit Stephenson’s backyard to see for themselves.
That’s what made local photographer Jeremy Black, a friend of Stephenson’s, different from most people.
Local photographer Jeremy Black went to get a closer look.
“I was hoping that ‘Ok this is not a hoax,'” he told WIAT42. “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.'”
Fortunately, Stephenson was willing to let him in, confident that he’d find the bird.
“Every time we’ve looked for him, he’ll show up at least once that day,” she told AL.com.
The fabled yellow bird wasn’t appearing, at first.
“I started out sitting in her backyard hoping that maybe I would see it,” Black told AL.com. “A lot of cardinals came by and none of them were yellow, so I decided to be a little bit more evasive and hide on her screened-in porch.”
Black’s decision to hide seemed to do the trick.
“About two or three hours after I moved to the porch, it finally showed up,” he said.
That’s when Black snapped some beautiful pictures of the creature, which he later uploaded to his Facebook page.
This morning Charlie Stephenson provided me with the opportunity to photograph the most captivating cardinal in…
This wasn’t the last time Black visited Stephenson’s yard. Knowing that a unique photo subject was living there, he returned several times.
On one trip, he discovered that the cardinal had made a new friend: a red cardinal with an injured foot.
Black was able to get photos of both cardinals, including one of them standing together on a fence.
I'm proud to finally share the long awaited portrait featuring the Northern red cardinal alongside the rare yellow…
“Both different in their own ways but just wanting to fit in they’ve made a bond and have been documented staying closely by each other for the past week,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
These cardinals have served as a source of inspiration for many. Still, nobody knows for sure why the yellow one appears the way it does.
Some say it was born with the coloration. Others say it received its hue through the food it has eaten.
Regardless, it’s the perfect example of Mother Nature’s beauty.
H/T: My Modern Met