‘An Extremely Rare Phenomenon’: A Yellow Cardinal, Nicknamed ‘Sunny,’ Photographed In Florida

An exceptionally rare yellow northern cardinal with a genetic color mutation was spotted and photographed in Port St. Lucie.

‘Sunny’ the yellow northern cardinal has taken the world by storm. Ever since the rare bird was photographed Oct. 12 in the backyard of Port St. Lucie home-school teacher Tracy Workman, images of the cardinal have circulated nationwide, sparking conversation about the cardinal species and birds in general.

Facebook page was even set up to celebrate Sunny and the 1-in-a-million sighting.

While Sunny was a first for Florida, this is not the first time a yellow cardinal with a rare genetic color mutation has been photographed in the United States.

Jeremy Black

According to bird plumage expert Geoff Hill (Auburn University): “This cardinal is yellow because of a rare genetic mutation. The mutation is associated with fitness costs so it doesn’t spread in areas. It arises de nova once in a while.  I’ve looked at an estimated 50,000 cardinals in my lifetime and I’ve never seen a yellow one (except a museum specimen at LSU).”

Geoff and two colleagues published a paper based on the yellow Northern Cardinal in the LSU collection. A pdf version of the paper is available at www.biology.eku.edu/kos/kos_images/NOCA_pigments.pdf

Sightings Across the South

Jeremy Black, a professional Alabama-based photographer, captured images of what he believes was the first-ever photographically documented sighting of a yellow northern cardinal in Alabaster, Alabama in February 2018.

Since these first images were taken, Black has actively operated a Facebook community called The Yellow Cardinal, where he engages with community members and educates the public about the rare genetic mutation found in the bird species.

Jeremy Black, Photographer

“It started as a unique project,” Black said. ” But now I inform the public and raise awareness about the bird.”

Black added he wants the project to inspire people to “get more involved with nature.” He said he spends almost every weekend photographing the yellow northern cardinal he first documented in 2018, as the bird has remained in the area since it was first spotted.

On the Facebook page, Black updates the list of confirmed sightings that have popped up recently around the southern United States.

“We officially have 12 confirmed male Northern Cardinals with yellow plumage throughout the United States!” Black wrote to his audience of about 11,800 people Wednesday. “Each have been confirmed with timestamps, positive ID with the help of photographs, and information from each individual who has made the incredible discovery.”

Jeremy Black

According to Black’s records, here are the current confirmed yellow northern cardinal sightings. Click on the state name for more information about each sighting:

Black said Sunny is the first confirmed yellow northern cardinal sighting in Florida. He proudly spread the news of the finding to his online community of bird enthusiasts, old and new:

“This Northern Cardinal was spotted this past weekend in Port St. Lucie, Florida by Tracy Workman,” he wrote above one of her images. “She has named him Sunny and he is bringing his radiance to the Sunshine State.”

This is the full interview with the photographer provided by birdsandbloom.com:

“What was it like to photograph a phenomenon?”

“We caught up with the photographer of this amazing find, Jeremy Black, to learn more about his experience as well as his thoughts on nature photography in general. Jeremy is a professional photographer based in Alabama, where his friend Charlie Stevenson first spotted the yellow cardinal.”

“Tell us about how you became a professional photographer.”

“For years as a kid, I endured bullying, and to escape that I visited The Birmingham Zoo, which became a sanctuary for me. My passion for wildlife started when my mother bought me a camera. I took it to the zoo to photograph their Malayan Tiger, Kumar. He became the inspiration for the majority of my work and I knew I wanted to pursue a career in photography.”

“I earned a degree in graphic design and photography from the University of Montevallo, then started a career in wildlife and portraiture photography, including weddings.” (Visit Jeremy’s website here.)

“Do you consider yourself a birder?”

“I definitely consider myself a birder. From a young age, I’d spend hours watching cardinals, chickadees, doves, woodpeckers, and an array of stunning birds interact with each other in my parents’ yard. They provided me with the perfect opportunity to learn how to photograph both wildlife and a moving subject. As I got older, I took advantage of the opportunity to work with birds and volunteered at the Alabama Wildlife Center to photograph their owls, falcons, and hawks.”

“I frequently visit local places like Limestone Park, Ebenezer Swamp, and Joe Tucker Park just to watch the wildlife there. Birds migrate to Limestone Park which provides a unique opportunity to view kingfishers, storks, egrets, hawks, and many more species that call that park their home.”

“Tell us more about the yellow northern cardinal experience.”

“My friend Charlie Stevenson opened up her home and yard to allow me the opportunity to photograph this cardinal, which I’m so grateful for. Before seeing the phone portrait she captured and posted on Facebook, I had no idea a mutation like this even occurred. I was aware of albinism in cardinals but not pigment mutation.”

“When the bird landed in her neighbor’s crepe myrtle tree and I saw it for the first time, it took my breath away. It was sitting 15 feet away from me and the way the sunlight cascaded upon it, for a moment I completely forgot that I was supposed to be taking pictures of the bird! I managed to only capture a few shots before a squirrel scared it away. Those moments are irreplaceable and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.”

Kumar, the Malayan Tiger – Jeremy Black

“Obviously this bird will always be special to you. Can you share some of your other favorite photograph subjects and experiences?”

“There is one photograph that started it all for me. It features Kumar the Malayan Tiger residing in his enclosure watching the birds off in the distance, and in the moment I took that photo I found my love for wildlife.”

“The Alabama Wildlife Center has also provided me with numerous photographs that have become close to my heart. I found myself getting lost in the eyes of a Eurasian Eagle Owl when I had the opportunity to photograph it for the center. I’ve always loved Great Horned Owls, so to be able to document this species of bird was remarkable too.”

Jeremy Black

“What do you enjoy about photographing birds? What tips can you offer to amateurs?”

“One of my favorite things about photographing birds is that there is never a dull moment. The birds are constantly flying, moving, and interacting with the world around them which provides me with a unique opportunity to capture irreplaceable moments. I especially love the challenge of trying to document birds in flight.”

“The best advice I could give to any amateur is to be patient. Sometimes waiting for the right moment has the greatest results. If I hadn’t camped out in a friend’s backyard for hours, I would have never had the opportunity to photograph the yellow northern cardinal!

“When I photographed exotic birds at the Birmingham Zoo, patience was everything. Many people would come and go but I’d spend hours outside one enclosure hoping to photograph the best possible image of the bird. I’ve noticed that when you’re more comfortable and still, birds tend to be less fearful of you. I also would recommend investing in telephoto lens (zoom), for those moments when you don’t want to scare a bird away but want the opportunity for the best portraits.”

“How will this yellow northern cardinal change the way you look at and photograph the world?”

“Since photographing this cardinal, my life has changed significantly. It’s the most humbling experience to share my work with the world because for years I wanted people to pay attention to wildlife and conservation more specifically. It’s wonderful to know that so many sources, platforms, and people on social media were interested in something that has been my passion for so long. I’ve had teachers send me portraits of their classrooms where children are drawing the cardinal!”

“To be able to impact so many with only two portraits is the best feeling in the world. When I was younger I looked up to my idol: Joel Sartore, a National Geographic photographer who specializes in wildlife. He inspired me, so to know that there might be a kid out there that’s inspired by my photography… it makes me grateful that I pursued something I love. Most people aren’t presented with that opportunity.”

“This photograph has taught me that there are so many things in the world I haven’t been exposed to yet. There is so much wildlife that many of us take for granted until they are gone, and I hope to document as much as possible through my lens. I want to be a voice for those that don’t have one. I want to be an inspiration for those that are passionate about wildlife and birding.”

Heart Soothing Stories That Will Make You Think Someone Has Cut Onions

We often have the chance to meet good-hearted people or we encounter the sweetest moments with someone or someone who does a very good deed to us. Or just the cases of humans being just humans might inspire and elevate our spirits. Thus is this collection Today we have chosen for you all some of the most emotional cases of people who run into the sweetest situations from others or they did it themselves.

Bellow, you have all that you need to soothe your heart. I advise every one of you to grab a tissue because someone is going to cut some onions right at night. Yes us Earthwonders we are cutting onions today!

Don’t forget to let us know what do you think about this collection and follow us for more upcoming content.

1. For those with golden heart


My parents split when I was in first grade. My mom met my step-dad, mark when I was in second grade. We moved in with him by the time I was in 3rd we moved into his house. He treated my siblings and me as his own since day 1. He even would watch Gilmore Girls with me and my sister every afternoon. After my mom died when I was 16, Mark didn’t make us go live with our biological dad. He continued raising us as his own. He started out as my mom’s boyfriend and became my dad, my best friend, my go-to for advice.

Mark ended up working 3 jobs while having heart failure, asthma, and diabetes. He did everything he could to provide for my sister and me. He passed away 6 days before I graduated college in 2016. It’s been a few years but I still have trouble on Father’s Day. He could have ditched us when our mom died and we didn’t have enough income. But he didn’t. He was there fighting to put food on the table. Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers who fight for their children.

2. In the name of his angel brother.


3. This Little Fella After Winning First Place In A Bike Tournament


4. Important Memories On Google Maps


5. I Am Finally Cancer Free! Really Excited To Live Life To The Fullest And Have Fun Again


6. He Has Cerebral Palsy, Mitochondrial Disease, And Was In Special Education Until The 7th Grade. He Just Graduated With His Aa And Highest Honors. Pride Is An Understatement


He just received a full-ride scholarship to the school of his dreams. My son is going to rock the world as a lawyer!


7. At The Salt Lake City Farmer’s Market A Few Years Back


8. My Favorite Graduation Photo. This Woman At My Campus’ Subway Kept Me Fed For 4 Years, And When I Was Low On Money, She Came Through For Me


9. Balloon Seller’s Kind Gesture


10. This Is The Day Our Daughter Was Declared In Remission From Stage 2 Liver Cancer


11. A Year Ago I Was Depressed And Suicidal. Today Things Have Gotten Better


12. When My Grandad Passed Away My Grandmother (She Is 85) Started Learning Painting To Distract Herself. After A Year She Gave Me This Painting


13. Best Neighbours


14. Jimmy Carter an ex USA president

15. My Best Bud And I Cleaned Up A Ton Of Trash Today On Our Day Off


16. I Just Found Out That My Neighbors Tell Their Dog I’m Outside When They Want Him To Hurry Up And Get Out The Door. This Is Him Waiting For A Treat From Me


17. Had The European Championship For Wheelchair Basketball. Took The Bronze Medal, And A Ticket To The World Championships In Japan Next Year


Keep working hard lads, you’ll reach good places.

18. Don’t really have anyone to celebrate with, so I thought I’d share with you guys. I’m one year sober!


19. Random Girl At Farmer’s Market Seduces My Partner In Front Of My Very Eyes


20. In France, Peyo, A Beautiful 15-Year-Old Stallion, Often Comes To Comfort And Soothe Terminally Ill Patients At The Techer Hospital In Calais


The horse always chooses which patient he wants to see, kicking his hoof outside the door.

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