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ERIE, Pa. – Longtime observer Jamie Hill knew he had encountered something rare.

The man from Waterford, Pa. Saw a northern cardinal who appeared to be a man on his right side and a woman on his left.

“It was one of the experiences of a lifetime,” Hill said of the bird, which was bright red like a male cardinal on one side and brownish-white like a female on the other.

Known as the bilateral gynandromorph, he described it as “a bird divided in its middle, half male and half female” which turned out to be “quite unusual”. Hill photographed the Cardinal on Saturday in trees behind a residence in Warren County, Pa., About 55 miles southeast of Erie.

He had been alerted to this by a friend of the owner, who wanted to remain anonymous, and Hill did not want to reveal the exact location.

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Rare Northern Cardinal, half male, half female, photographed in Pennsylvania

He said the rare cardinal “behaved in a completely normal manner”. But, in theory, he said he could mate with a female cardinal or a male cardinal, depending on which of his hormones were active during mating season.

A similar bird recorded by an Erie couple was featured in a National Geographic article in January 2019. This bird, which was red on one side and brown on the other, was spotted and photographed by Jeffrey and Shirley Caldwell .

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