About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Please Help Us Identify This Bird!

Hi, I am a WBU customer and love watching our birds. Since August we have been delighted to see this wonderful bird I think is a female cardinal. Some friends have said it is a cedar wax wing. What do you think? It is in the company of cardinals, eats from a platform or perched on a feeder. Thanks! Haslett, MI

I love questions with good photos.

It is a female cardinal with leucism. Leucism is a condition characterized by reduced pigmentation in animals.
Right now scientist describe two kinds of Leucistic birds, pale and pied. Pale leucistic birds will have the same markings, but extremely pale. Pied Leucistic birds, like the one in your photo, have patches of white. Leucistic birds are relatively unusual but much more common than albino birds which are completely white with pink eyes, legs and bill.

Unfortunately they usually don't have as long a life span. It doesn't effect their health but they are easier for prey to spot and have a harder time attracting mates. So consider yourself lucky!

Thanks for the great question.

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