I had a couple birds hanging out on my deck this morning that I just can't identify. It's not a matter of not being able to tell one sparrow from another, either. This bird just doesn't look anything like anything in my book.
It had an orange head and breast, which "faded" to yellow on the tail. And when I say orange, I mean Baltimore Oriole orange. Seriously orange. Like some kid had taken an orange crayon out to color a bird. It was almost the orange of some marigolds.
The wings, though, were dark sith some light mixed.
There were other birds around. One was near a female/immature Rose-Breasted Grosbeak for a moment, and the Mystery Bird was smaller, but not hugely smaller. It also had a way pointier looking beak.
It was quite a bit larger than the Goldfinches or Housefinches.
My best guess for now is a rather orangey variant female Baltimore Oriole. But wow, really way more orange than the Peterson's guide shows for female Baltimore Orioles. And the beak isn't quite right. And it seems small.
My second best guess is what the Peterson guide shows as an orange variant of the Scarlet Tanager. Except my Mystery Bird had a more yellowy tail than the picture shows for that, and was less orangy on the breast and underbelly.
Other things I noticed: no eye striping or white ring. The beak seemed heavier than a warbler beak (though I'm not good at warblers; maybe a Yellow Warbler is a possibility in the confusing fall warblers way?), and the bird a bit bigger.
At first, it was perched on the deck next to some planters, either picking at plant parts (the tops, but not really flowers) or bugs on the plants. Another was on a trellis, doing the same at a climbing plant.
The area's a hilly, suburban, grassland near some tree stands w/ oaks and birches and such, mostly.
If anyone is a hot shot birder, could you give me some idea of what it was? Or if someone knows some hot shot birders who might know what I was looking at, could you ask them to toss me some ideas, please?