Rare yellow cardinal spotted in woman’s garden in AL

MOBILE COUNTY, AL (WKRG/CNN) - A rare bird is a frequent flyer in one Theodore neighborhood.

A cardinal that's yellow instead of red has been sighted in one woman's garden.

The cardinal rule of cardinals is they’re red, but just like all rules, there’s bound to be at least one exception.

When Karem Maldonado saw this yellow exception, she made sure to catch it on camera.

“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.

Maldonado said she stayed still and then he appeared.

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

Researchers at Auburn University said the bird has a rare genetic mutation. Dr. Geoffrey Hill said it’s like albinism in humans.

Whatver the cause, Maldonado said the sighting touches her heart.

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

Maldonado’s dad was from Ohio. The state bird there 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.

Maldonado said she’s seen the bird more than once, and they generally only travel five miles from where they nest.

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