"I think I have an escaped cage bird, or some rare bird. I've got a bird that is all red, almost as red as a cardinal (on a few occasions the bird will be brown). The bird has a small black head, and big orange bill. Do you know what that is?"
It's the bald cardinal sometimes called "pinhead" or "mini red vulture". Melissa Block got this photo. It was very funny, she called when I was in Virginia and asked if she could borrow the NovaBird Camera to get photos of birds eating mealworms for the Wild Bird Store's newsletter. I told her to just take one from the store, use it for a day or two and then bring it back. Two days later I get an email from Melissa telling me that she's having too much fun with the camera and will just buy it. It's fun, it's like you're still able to bird when you aren't home. Notice the hole just below the eye--that's the cardinal's ear. I wonder if their hearing is affected without the feathers covering the hole?
Cardinals can go bald for a couple of reasons. This time of year the birds are molting so before the new feathers grow in the old feathers fall out and for some reason cardinals will sometimes loose all the feathers on their head. The skin is black and without the fluffy feathers, their head looks teeny tiny especially with the massive bill.
Sometimes birds will get feather mites and all their feathers will get eaten away by the mites and the birds are bald until they grow in new ones. However, if you are seeing bald cardinals this time of year, it's a safe bet that they are molting. You may also see bald blue jays or grackles as well. Hilton Pond did a great article about feather mites, that featured a frightening photo of a bald female cardinal--eeeeeelich.
UPDATE: You can read more about bald cardinals here.