Don and Barbara Larcher of Jeisyville photographed this yellow cardinal.
Reader photographs unusual yellow cardinal
January 24, 2014 at 02:18 AM
Once upon a time, in a land with no Internet, those with questions had fewer options to get them answered quickly.
The State Journal-Register
There were encyclopedias of course. And books – provided you had the book you needed at hand. More likely, it required a trip to the library or to the office of a local expert.
Now, we can share our pictures with friends, other birders and nature buffs, and get answers to our questions within minutes.
Todd Fullhart e-mailed a picture of a cedar waxwing with this question:
“I saw this bird last April or May in my backyard in West Chicago,” he wrote. “Do you know what it might be?”
Luckily, there are many birders and experts nearby if I am stumped by a reader’s question. It happens more than I like to admit.
Sometimes, readers send me pictures of things I have never seen before.
“Here are pictures of our yellow cardinal … taken in October and November,” wrote Don and Barbara Larcher of Jeisyville.
According to a paper written by Kevin McGraw, Geoffrey Hill and Robert Parker, and published by the Cooper Ornithological Society in 2003, a yellow northern cardinal has a genetic mutation that affects the coloration of its feathers.
Turns out cardinals get carotenoids (organic pigments) through their diets. The yellow bird examined for the study metabolized those pigments in a different way.
Winter wildlife continues to be a popular topic.
“We saw these two characters jogging across the lake toward our property on Lake Petersburg,” wrote Ron Horwedel. “After a short hunt along the riprap, they decided to have a two-hour nap on our lawn.”
He snapped a picture initially with his phone, but switched to his camera for better results.
Frequent contributor Tom Bonderski of Plainfield shot a portfolio of wildlife photos last weekend during the final portion of the late-winter antlerless deer season.
“I just thought I’d share some pictures I took this past weekend,” he wrote. “If it had been turkey season, I would have been done in the first hour.
“I didn’t harvest anything but I did see a lot of wildlife, including this pileated woodpecker. Noisy things they are.”
Include as much information as you can, including the names of people in the pictures and the date the photos were taken.
We’ll showcase as many as possible in Voices from the Wilderness.