A rare “white” cardinal has been spotted in Tennessee and it carries special meaning for the person who saw it.
The viewer in Lebanon says the feathered friend has been visiting since October 2. It first arrived on their birthday and the anniversary of their father’s death, who died more than 20 years ago.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, cardinals have long been seen as a message from a loved one watching over you.
Since that day, the bird has been spotted making several reoccurring visits. The viewer says it’s their “special bird.”
Both Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and folks at the Nashville Zoo said if it is truly a white bird, it would be a “leucistic” Northern Cardinal. Leucism is caused by a lack of pigment in the feathers.
TWRA and the zoo say the birds are rare, but not unheard of. There are usually a few reported in the state every year.
According to Gardens All, white cardinals account for about 1 in every 1,800 cardinals.
Cardinals, in the family Cardinalidae, are passerine birds found in North and South America. They are also known as cardinal-grosbeaks and cardinal-buntings.
The South American cardinals in the genus Paroaria are placed in the tanager family Thraupidae. On the other hand, DNA analysis of the genera Piranga (which includes the scarlet tanager, summer tanager, and western tanager), Chlorothraupis, and Habia showed their closer relationship to the cardinal family. They have been reassigned to that family by the American Ornithological Society.