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Southeastern PA: red bird w/blue head, grosbeak-like red beak


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#1 aliharris

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 05:04 PM

Hi! I need help identifying a bird that has fed on the ground under my birdfeeder for the past 2 mornings. The bird is about the same size or slightly larger than a male cardinal. It also has red feathers all over except for medium blue feathers on it's head down to the neck. Each cheek has a darker blue "eye patch", and it's bill is red and shaped like a grosbeak. When it flies off, it flies up to a tall branch in a tall tree in our woods. I've lived here for 8 years and never seen this bird before!

Help!



#2 Harrier

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 05:12 PM

Could it be a bald cardinal? This time of year, many cardinals get mites and lose their head feathers, showing their bluish skin.

 http://www.birds.cor...g/BaldBirds.htm



#3 hbvol

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 06:23 PM

Red bill + red body = male cardinal.  I have one with no head and neck feathers and it matches your description


#4 aliharris

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:00 AM

Hi guys - thank you for your replies. Unfortunately, this bird is still a mystery...and here's why:

1. It was 10 ft outside my window & I observed it through binoculars - it had feathers on it's head and they were medium blue

2. This bird is solitary and is "beefier" than a male cardinal (as we have those too!)

3. The beak was not orange, like a male cardinal. It was the same dark shade of red (not quite as bright as a male cardinal's) as it's primary feather color.

4. The tail seems longer than a cardinal's (almost the length and shape of a brown thrasher).

If I didn't know a little bit about birding, I'd almost think it was some kind of parrot. It was back again this morning, but I unfortunately don't have a camera capable of taking a decent picture of it.

Can anyone else help ID this bird?



#5 aliharris

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:06 AM

Hey there,

I just checked out the link you put on your post to me. You may be right. One of the pics did look similar to the bird we've been seeing. If he comes back again, I'll get the binoculars out and check really closely for the head feathers. Thank you for your help! I was really puzzled.  



#6 Cavan Wood

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 02:18 PM

The only bird in NA with a red/orange bill is the northern cardinal.  Even a really poor photo with a cell phone will tell us if it is indeed a cardinal and not some escaped exotic.






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