Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mystery Bird Identified

Back during one of the big snows of the past winter, I saw a bird that I had never seen before. It was too fast for me to get more than a glimpse, but I could clearly see that it had a white head.
At first glance, it seemed to be a cockatiel or some other tropical bird that had gotten away from its owner. I was amazed that it was surviving the harsh winter. 
I looked for information on the 'net back when I first saw it, but there were no likely choices for what the species could be. I just waited to see if it would come back.
It did. I saw it in the neighborhood last month and followed it around trying to get a better look. It saw me and flew off. I saw it again yesterday perched in a tree next to my house.
It is a cardinal!  With a totally white head!  It looks like someone upended a cardinal in a bucket of white paint. It is all red except for the head. Too cool.
I looked for confirmation of this crazy phenomenon and found it in several places on the Web. One of the places is the Cornell Ornithology Lab. Apparently, some birds are partially missing the pigment in their feathers. If all the pigment is missing they are albinos.
Since I have not been able to get a picture of this elusive bird of my own, I have used some pictures taken by others.

1 comment:

  1. Great research! I'm so glad you got some pictures. I had a female cardinal with a white stripe on her head last spring. I never did get a picture. I'm hoping to see her or her offspring at my feeder again this year. I named her Cruella. :)


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