Scott Davis, of Gallatin, Tenessee has just had a once in a lifetime encounter with a rare white cardinal, right in his backyard.
The lifelong birdwatcher was surprised to see a nearly all-white cardinal, with only very light red feathers on its body, eating food in the 67-year-old retiree’s backyard.
“It’s actually the prettiest bird I think I’ve ever seen,” Scott said. “It’s an unnatural color. Maybe that’s what makes it so pretty. It’s just so odd and rare.”
Despite being an avid bird watcher his whole life, Scott had never seen a white cardinal, and with a stroke of luck, one landed in his backyard. What are the odds!
The rare white bird looks that way due to a rare condition called leucism which affects the pigmentation on its feathers. Similar to albinism but not as extreme.
“There is like a one in 1,800 chance of one existing,” Scott added. “Some of them maybe just have one little spot and some of them have even more white on them than the one I photographed.”
Davis puts out food in his backyard in the hope of feeding hungry birds in the local area.
“Cardinals like sunflower seeds, so I threw a bunch out there on the snow and ice,” Scott recalled. “That’s when he came. He was probably out there between 10 and 15 minutes each time.”
Davis also managed to capture this short video of the bird that went viral on Facebook.
The sighting was featured on a television news broadcast in Knoxville which prompted lots of birdwatchers to visit Scott’s property to try and catch a glimpse of the rare bird. However, those requests have been denied.
“It’s incredible,” Scott said about the popularity of the video. “I don’t mind (the attention). I just don’t want to be bothered about it.”
As for the cardinal, Scott says it hasn’t returned since it flew off just after he captured the video.