10 January 2009
This is one of those stories floating through the bird listservs and blogs that I couldn't pass by. The Quad City Times has posted an article about a recent gynandromorph Northern Cardinal that showed up at the home feeder of a retired teacher, Bob Motz, in Illinios. I didn't even know birds could exhibit this trait. Apparently during embryonic development a genetic abnormality occurs when the sex chromosomes (Z and W in birds) do not separate normally which results in a gynandromorph individual. This was my first run in with gynandromorphy but due to this article other instances have popped up on the interwebs, like this Rose-breasted Grosbeak photo, taken by Bill Gilmour. I also found a Scientific American article from 2003 about how gynandromorph birds have helped scientists discover sex differences in bird brains. So next time you're at your feeders check out all your birds, you never know when something weird will show up.