Saffron Restaurants reservation Could it be related to the birds seen in 2018?

Could it be related to the birds seen in 2018?


Six years ago, an Alabama photographer’s photos of a rare yellow cardinal captivated the nation on numerous national news outlets after they were first reported on

Now, a bird with the same genetic mutation – one that causes the bird’s feathers to appear bright yellow instead of red – has been spotted on the outskirts of Birmingham, about 15 miles away from the 2018 sighting.

Photographer Jeremy Black, who captured the signature images of “Mr. Yellow” in 2018, said a Helena resident contacted him last week to report a yellow cardinal had been spotted in her backyard.

SEE ALSO — Alabama’s Yellow Cardinal: The Science Behind an Amazing, Rare Bird

Black visited the house and within a few days had taken several photos of the new yellow cardinal, which appears to be a different bird with the same genetic mutation as Mr. Yellow.

“We only saw it for a few seconds (the first day), just enough to confirm it was a northern cardinal with yellow plumage,” Black said. “It has been visiting almost every day since then.”

Black photographed Mr. Yellow in Alabaster in 2018. The new sighting occurred about 15 miles away in Helena.

The homeowner who first saw the new yellow cardinal requested that her identity not be revealed in this story to protect the bird and her belongings from unwanted attention.

After the 2018 yellow cardinal story, the neighborhood where the bird was spotted was plagued by hundreds of people, causing problems for local residents.

But the homeowner said she would like to see her town of Helena recognized for this rare find.

“To me he is such a rare bird, so beautiful,” she told “I want the town of Helena to be recognized and listed online among Alabaster, Texas, Louisiana and all these other yellow cardinal sightings.”

She said her husband named the bird Maize after they decided it needed a more masculine name.

“We felt like we had to stick with the yellow theme somehow,” she said. “Buttercup was too feminine. He is a man, so we wanted a nice name and my husband came up with Maize and it stuck.”

The homeowner said she first saw the bird while eating lunch near her house and immediately recognized it.

Mr. Yellow, a male northern cardinal with a rare genetic mutation that causes his feathers to be yellow instead of red, caused a sensation when he was photographed in Alabaster, Alabama in 2018.

“I knew exactly what it was because I had remembered the yellow cardinal in Alabaster a few years ago,” she said.

She then contacted Black, who helped confirm the identification and take more photos to document the sighting.

Geoffrey Hill, an ornithologist at Auburn University who has done extensive research on bird coloration, said Maize could be related to Mr. Yellow from 2018, but there was no way to know for sure.

He believes the genetic mutation is simply more common in this area.

“It’s probably unrelated or just a coincidence,” Hill told “It’s probably the same mutation that occurs in that region, in that population, perhaps at a higher level than in some other cardinal populations.”

Hill said the mutation that causes the unusual coloring seen in Mr. Yellow, and now Maize, is likely the result of two recessive genetic traits, and that the condition may only manifest in offspring who have two parents carrying the same recessive gene.

“There is a rare mutation that is recessive,” Hill said. “So if there’s only one copy, it won’t show up.

“But because it’s at quite a high level in that population, every now and then you get two specimens together and that’s the bird with the yellow.”

In June 2018, Mr. Yellow turned out to be a father. Black photographed the bird and a female cardinal caring for a nest with two young in it.

Mr. Yellow, a cardinal with a rare genetic mutation spotted in central Alabama in 2018 and 2019, is watching over two baby birds that may be his offspring.

However, the young left the nest before it could be determined whether they were also carriers of the genetic mutation.

As for Corn, the homeowner said she hoped he would stick around for a while. She says she enjoys looking at all kinds of birds in her backyard, but this one is just a little more special.

“All these other species we have in our backyard are just as beautiful,” she said. “We enjoy seeing them all.

“But he just shines, he just came out. He was a stud.”