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February 5, 2019 / Posted by:

The half-male, half-female cardinal who’s got a man!

When this story landed in my inbox a few times with the subject “half-male, half-female cardinal,” I nearly SANTO DIOS’d out of my body while thinking that the “cool pope” has really gone progressive. But we’re not talking about a Catholic cardinal. We’re talking about a bird who is literally male on one side of its body and female on the other. “Oh my, these sick and demonic gays, lesbians, and transgenders are cutting up male birds and female birds to sew them together in order to push their evil agenda!” – some religious crazy

Shirley Caldwell of Erie, Pennsylvania is really into birds, so when this cardinal flew into her backyard, she knew it was a uniquely gorgeous feathery creature. Shirley shared pictures of the bird with The National Geographic who got a bird genius to explain:

The anomaly is known as a bilateral gynandromorph. In plain language: Half its body is male and the other half is female. “This remarkable bird is a genuine male/female chimera,” says Daniel Hooper, a postdoctoral fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in an email.

Gynandromorphs, known as “half-siders” among ornithologists, are uncommon but not unheard of. They likely occur across all species of birds, Hooper says, but we’re only likely to notice them in species where the adult males and females look distinct from each other, a trait known as sexual dimorphism. “Cardinals are one of the most well-known sexually dimorphic birds in North America—their bright red plumage in males is iconic—so people easily notice when they look different,” Hooper says.

The half-sider Cardinal may be able to make bird babies, because they have ovaries on their female side. Shirley says that this Cardinal has been flying into her backyard for a minute, and with them is a dude Cardinal. So that Cardinal could reproduce. And you evil whores at TLC, don’t even think about exploiting this Cardinal and its boyfriend in a reality show. Let them hump in peace. Well, almost in peace. I’m sure Shirley Caldwell will have her binoculars out.

Pic: Shirley Caldwell

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