Image name: CardinalMF1

Gynandromorph Cardinal

On January 14, 2011 I saw what appeared to be a light-colored female cardinal at my bird feeder, but with the bright red crest of a male. Just as I was about to get my camera, it turned around and now looked identical to a male cardinal! I had no clue what I was looking at, but I was able to get a shot of it facing me with one half colored like a male and the other half like a female. After making inquiries on the web, I learned that this bird is an extremely rare bilateral gynandromorph cardinal. This is the result of a genetic mistake that occurs when a fertilized egg begins cell division. During the first cell division one daughter cell receives a female chromosome and the other receives a male chromosome, the result of which is an organism that has one half with male characteristics and the other half with female characteristics. This photograph was used as a clue on the Jeopardy! game show that was broadcast on July 16, 2013.