I got some photos of female cardinals at Hyland Park the other day and the beak looks strange. At first, I noticed the smudge on the beak. It looks like she's been eating berries. Here's a close up:
That looks like berry juice, don't you think?
Then she turned her head and it looks like the beak is bent awkwardly. Here it is up close:
So, I'm wondering if there is something wrong with the beak or is she maybe missing some black feathers that would normally be covering that patch up.
Here is another female cardinal head on, I took this photo the same day, her beak looks okay, but she appears to have more black feathers around it.
Here's a head on shot of a female cardinal that I took last winter and it doesn't appear to have that bump.
I wonder, is this just the way her beak has been growing or did she fly into something?
And once again, a bird leaves me with more questions than answers.