Rare Winter Birds at the Garden
About the size of a goldfinch, the pine siskin has thin streaks all over its body, including the top of its head. Its bill is thin and tiny, and it often has yellow in its tail and wing bars. They are noisy and fun to watch, and are often the least fearless birds at the feeders.
Also about the size of a goldfinch, but appearing rounder, the common redpoll has a reddish cap on its head, a dark bib, yellow bill, and sometimes rosy pink on the breast. They are able to store seeds in their esophagus for later eating.
Good luck with this one! It's a whiter, frostier version of the common redpoll, but even the hard-core birders don't always agree on the identification of this species. Hang around with the experts at the Enabling Garden and perhaps they can point one out to you.
The male is bright pink! Seeing a pink bird in an evergreen in winter is quite a sight. The crossbill also has white wing bars and a slightly crossed bill, which enables it to extract seeds from cones. White-winged crossbills do not enter Illinois in such huge numbers very often. Wherever there are stands of spruces and other conifers, a flock of crossbills may be feasting. They always seem to be on the fly, so finding them at the Garden is more difficult than finding the siskins and redpolls.