First I'd like to thank Tina for inviting me to do this, if it weren't for her we may not have found out the identification of this reddish/orange bird. I'm relatively sure this little guy is a Common redpoll, (Carduelis flammea) member of the finch family. The house finch is similar, but I identified my bird because of the company he keeps, a female Common Redpoll. The female Redpoll has the red cap whereas the female house finch doesn't and they are larger. These are the size of a chickadee and I see the female everyday.
This particular finch, although pretty, is one tough bird. It summers in Canada, Alaska, and up though the Artic Circle where it breeds in the out skirted shrubs of the frozen tundra. Because of a large amount of snowfall, they have an irregular winter migration pattern that includes the northern United States. They will sleep in a snow tunnel to keep warm. The first photo is a picture taken through my window while it was raining. If you enlarge it the rain on the glass looks like snow.
I want to include a tidbit about gardens and or trees so I chose to tell everyone what our visitors favorite food is.....birch seed. This finch has been known to hang upside down from the birch catkins in order to pry the seed out. They are somewhat nomadic, settling in where the supply of food is good. I have been blessed to have many birch including a pair of white birches that grace both sides of my driveway, and I've tried to photograph some of the catkins that are starting to flower. The single sapling pictures effectively demonstrate the emerging white color from the initial red bark. My dog was concerned about me in the road and wouldn't leave no matter what!
One more note about my reddish/orange friend, I sent a spot sighting to the Maine Audubon Society and offered my photo for the bird alert. Maine has had 25 sightings of this Common Redpoll in the last two years, if mine is accepted it will be the fifteenth recorded of 2008.
Lastly, on the subject of birds, trees, catkins and pairs, I've included a photo of a couple who think they are "TOPS OF THE FOOD CHAIN". This is the first time these two have seen the tank this close with occupants!
Shhhh......in the Garden.....