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The Buzz

Rare White Cardinal Caught on Camera in New Lenox

Spotting a male cardinal can be a real treat, thanks to its striking red color, but what about a white cardinal?

Well, that's a rarity that was recently caught on camera in New Lenox and then posted to the District's Will County Wildlife Facebook group by Jim Herbert. 

Herbert had seen the bird in the area for some time and after previously posting some video of it far off in the distance, this time he set up his phone on a tripod, dropped down some seed and waited for the magic to happen. 

The bird didn't disappoint. At first, it landed in the distance and eventually gets up close and personal with the camera, giving a very detailed view of its coloration — and lack thereof — for everyone to admire while it chomped down on some seed. 

While it's unusual, a white cardinal — or any other bird or animal — isn't totally unheard of. In fact, a white great horned owl was spotted in Will County over the winter and an albino woodchuck was photographed in June in Lockport.

We've also seen stories of white cardinals elsewhere around the country and even a yellow cardinal. 



A variety of mutations and abnormalities can result in coloration such as with this particular bird. 

While most people consider true albinism to be an absence of all pigment due to a genetic mutation that prevents the production of melanin, there are varying degrees of albinism. A bird could be albinistic and still have some color. 

Another condition is leucism, which causes an abnormality in pigment in the feathers. It can cause pale or muted colors on the bird, as well as irregular patches of white. 

Read more about the two conditions at The Cornell Lab's Project FeederWatch. 


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