Woman Spots ‘One in a Million’ Yellow Cardinal

March 20, 2019 Updated: March 20, 2019

A rare yellow cardinal was spotted in an Alabama woman’s yard. Cardinals are typically red, but there are exceptions to the rule.

Karem Maldonado of Mobile County, who has been described as an avid bird watcher and gardener, spotted the yellow bird.

“He looked at me with one eye, and then looked at me with the other,” Maldonado said, WFLA reported.

After she posted a photo of the bird on Facebook, people from around the United States told her they’ve been looking for the rare cardinal for years but never found one.

“I decided I was just going to practice taking pictures with the red ones. So, I was just sitting down kind of hiding behind a green pillow,” she said, according to 6ABC.

She stayed still, and the bird showed up.

“Well at that point I focused on the bird. He kept on coming. I kept on walking toward the window, which I thought would just deter him and go away. He wasn’t scared,” Maldonado said.

Maldonaldo suggested it might be reincarnation.

“To me it’s just very special. My dad’s been dead for 41 years, so that might be my dad,” Karem said.

She added that he’s from Ohio, and the state bird is the cardinal.

“That’s the southern thing they say is if a cardinal comes in your yard, it’s because a dead one is visiting. And I said, I must have a party going on in my yard,” she said.

Auburn University ornithologist, Dr. Geoffrey Hill said it is a “one in a million” find, according to the report. Hill said the coloring is a rare genetic mutation, saying that the DNA stops production of the red pigment, which is why the birds are yellow.

“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,” Hill added.

In 2018, another yellow cardinal was photographed in Alabama.

Top photo credit: Craig ONeal via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.