Sunday, March 4, 2018

North American White Albino Cardinals: Non-Red Red Northern Cardinals


Summary: North American white albino cardinals look, move and sound like pink-and-white northern cardinals in backyards in Missouri and Tennessee in February 2018.


photo by Morgan Godfrey: FOX2now ‏@FOX2now via Twitter March 2, 2018

Northern cardinals appear on arborist, birdwatching, gardening, naturalist and tree steward lists of red-bodied male birds even though North American white albino cardinals and North American yellow cardinals are alternate, same-species forms.
North American white albino cardinals became backyard visitors in the Fox2Now viewer area of Olivette, Missouri, and the WBIR-TV viewing area of Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2018. The KTVI broadcasting station viewer couple caught a distance image of a white albino northern cardinal cozied up in sunlight outside their comparably bright white-siding house. The second wildlife observer, in the WBIR Channel 10News broadcasting station viewer area, dashed off a couple of images of yet another sunlit white albino cardinal.
The backyard photo opp elicited, 11 minutes later, an explanation, in the Facebook post comments box, of extended experiences with a white albino northern cardinal female.

Pink-billed, pink-crested, pink-eyed, pink-feathered North American white albino cardinals flew into a Missourian couple's yard and into a Tennessean's backyard Feb. 26 and 28, 2018, respectively.
Linda Ann Biermann got, 11 minutes after posting, Talaria Wingfoot's comment at 3:09 p.m. that "We had a white female cardinal in our rural (Missouri) yard." Wingfoot has "nearly 7 acres with 1 acre clear and the rest mixed woods. She was at our feeders from early spring until maybe November (2017)." She indicated in closing that "then we didn't see her again. Glad you were gifted with the presence of one, Linda. I suspect they're quite rare."
Michael Ogle, curator of birds and reptiles at Zoo Knoxville, judges, "This does appear to be an albino cardinal (in Sequoyah Hills). They are generally rare."

Audubon and Sibley Guides sites keep online information on North American white albino cardinals and North American yellow cardinals and on random and recessive genetic mutation.
Geoffrey Hill, professor of biology at Audubon University in Alabama, looked, in team research published in 2003, at the first-known North American yellow cardinal, from 1986. He mentioned in team research published in 2016 that CYP2J19 enzymes manufacture red from four orange- and yellow-pigmented carotenoids that make up red northern cardinal diets. Geoff LeBaron, Audubon's Christmas Bird Count director, notes that dietary deficiencies and environmental stress net temporary, and genetic mutation permanent recessive or temporary random, color changes.
Ogle observes that, in recessive mutations, "it means the mom and dad each carried the gene, and then there's a small percentage the offspring are albino."

Ogle presents randomness and recessiveness as rare since "Typically, there is a reason they don't happen every day. Usually these birds with rare colors don't survive."
That "it is so easy (for predators) to see a bright white bird," left celibate "because birds are very visually-oriented," quashes North American white albino cardinals. Ogle reveals that "I cannot say if the bird is female from looking at the photograph, but the video shows it with a bright red one." He says that "That (all-red traditional male cardinal) would lead me to believe it is female" since "With bird mating, most of it is female selection."
Red with white in Morgan Godfrey's video and with yellow in Jeremy Black's photo trends with Ogle trusting that "there will be more" non-reds turning up.

North American white albino cardinals spotted in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Tennessee: FOX2Now @FOX2now via Facebook March 2, 2018

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to:
Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.
Image credits:
photo by Morgan Godfrey: FOX2now @FOX2now via Twitter March 2, 2018, @ https://twitter.com/FOX2now/status/969636495337418752
North American white albino cardinals spotted in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Tennessee: Fox2Now @FOX2now via Facebook March 2, 2018, @ https://www.facebook.com/FOX2Now/posts/10156224075334228

For further information:
"Albinism and Leucism." Project FeederWatch > Learn > Unusual Birds > Color Variants.
Available @ https://feederwatch.org/learn/unusual-birds/
Biermann, Linda Ann. 26 February 2018. "How rare is this one? Not a close up but it was a white cardinal." Facebook.
Available @ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10211711073234621&set=p.10211711073234621
Fox2Now @Fox2Now. 2 March 2018. "'He's only used for home games.'" Facebook.
Available @ https://www.facebook.com/FOX2Now/posts/10156224075334228
FOX2now ‏@FOX2now. 2 March 2018. "Rare white cardinal spotted in Knoxville neighborhood." Twitter.
Available @ https://twitter.com/FOX2now/status/969636495337418752
Marriner, Derdriu. 3 March 2018. "North American Yellow Cardinal Morphs of Red Northern Cardinals." Earth and Space News. Saturday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2018/03/north-american-yellow-cardinal-morphs.html
Marriner, Derdriu. 10 May 2015. "Northern Cardinal Faves: Popcorn for Female or Chestnut Seeds for Male." Earth and Space News. Sunday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2015/05/northern-cardinal-faves-popcorn-for.html
Marriner, Derdriu. 28 November 2010. "Cone-Beaked, Dark-Crested and Throated South American Yellow Cardinals." Earth and Space News. Sunday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2010/11/cone-beaked-dark-crested-and-throated.html
Matheny, Jim. 2 March 2018. "White Cardinal in Knoxville Adds to Colorful Bird Tales." 10News > News > Local.
Available @ http://www.wbir.com/article/news/local/white-cardinal-in-knoxville-adds-to-colorful-bird-tales/51-524598047
Millitzer, Joe. 2 March 2018. "Rare White Cardinal Spotted in Knoxville Neighborhood." Fox2Now > News.
Available @ http://fox2now.com/2018/03/02/rare-white-cardinal-spotted-in-knoxville-neighborhood/

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