A Florida woman photographed an extremely rare yellow cardinal thought to be “one in a million” at her home in Port St. Lucie.
Tracy Workman, a homeschool art teacher, said she found the bird perched on a feeder at her home after she came out of the front door. It was her second sighting of the cardinal this month, she told The Epoch Times—the first time she spotted the bird was in her garden on Oct. 3.
While her home is often frequented by birds such as cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, and warblers, it was Workman’s first time spotting the rare bird, which gets its yellow feathers from a genetic mutation.
“[There are] lots of songbirds around, the lady next door has been feeding them for years. There are some red-shouldered hawks which live in the big tree behind my house too, and I had a conversation with a massive owl this summer,” she said.
She said she instantly recognized how special the cardinal was after seeing another yellow cardinal go viral last year, and followed it for five minutes with her Canon T5i camera to capture some stunning shots.
“Following a bird is of course not the best way to get pictures of it,” she told USA Today. “But at first, I didn’t believe I actually saw it. I was super excited.”
Geoffrey Hill, a professor and curator of birds at Auburn University, told the news outlet the bird Workman spotted was a male northern cardinal with an extremely rare genetic mutation which makes it “one in a million.”
The red pigment seen in the DNA of most cardinals is blocked by a genetic mutation, and replaced with a vibrant yellow color, Hill explained. Typically, only three are sighted a year, he said.
The yellow cardinal reportedly makes up “well below one percent” of the cardinal population, according to Thomas Webber, a collection manager of the Division of Ornithology at the Florida Museum in Gainesville.
“It’s an extremely rare phenomenon,” Webber told USA Today.
Since her second sighting, Workman has even come up with the sweetest name for the yellow bird.
“He needs a name. The obvious name for the only yellow cardinal reported in Florida is Sunny. I shall call him Sunny,” she wrote on Facebook.
Workman told The Epoch Times she hopes to spot Sunny again soon, and set up a second bird feeder in her backyard on Oct. 15 with a ring-shaped perch all the way around, which would make it easier for him to feed.
“I put it up because cardinals apparently don’t like tube feeders because they have to twist around, so he was mainly hopping around on the ground looking for fallen seeds,” she said. “Not a good place for me to get a photo, so I got one meant for the way cardinals eat.”
“Hopefully I can get some nice photos of him on it.”