I have been seeing a bird that looks like a cardinal but has black wings and has an orange-red color. Closest photo I've found is the hooded oriole, but this is Michigan and early March. Any ideas of what this bird could be? I have been trying to get a picture but it is a very shy bird.

  • Welcome Liz! Can you give us more details please? What environment is the bird? Is it in the yard, on trees, bushes, the ground, feeders? Have you ever seen it before? Has it been around a while? There are some orange/red birds that migrate through Michigan Sightings are considered "accidental" and hard to identify. Does it look like the tanager people have suggested? If not, can you tell us what's different? Some websites list Michigan birds by season, but it really seems too early for the tanager. The hooded oriole is possible, but rare. What else can you think of? We want to help! Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 0:48

2 Answers 2


It's most probably a scarlet tanager although he'd be super early, that's for sure.

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Your description could be a scarlet tanager ( breeding time they may have some orange in otherwise a very red color) , but Michigan in march is unreasonable.The location and activities of a bird are very important to bird ID.Try looking at red crossbill, they are in Michigan.

  • 1
    It does seem most likely that it would be a red crossbill. Not only is it early for tanagers that far north (there's nothing for them to eat, since they're not seedeaters), but the description of orange-red better matches crossbills. If it's eating seeds, you can rule out tanagers and orioles. Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 17:55
  • Hi blacksmith37! I agree with you & @Tom Gaskill that red crossbill is a very likely candidate. It shows up on Michigan bird websites as very common, especially in certain parts of the State. We don't know where Liz lives. A few stay throughout the year but others arrive around January, so it would make sense for them to be seen in March. Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 19:22

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