He was hard to identify because he was so wet. We have only a few red birds in Western North Carolina, so we thought he must be a Scarlet Tanager. That is not a common bird around here, but not unheard of. (Please advise if you think it's something else.)
LATE ENTRY: Science Guy, Lynne, and Robin have identified this as a Red Crossbill! I hadn't even considered that since we are SO far out of its range. Wow! Thanks, blogger buddies.
I thought this photograph showed him cracking a seed. Looking at other pictures, I'm not so sure.
The bird returned after it stopped raining. He was finally dry but still spending a very long time at the feeder. I feared he might be sick, but he appeared to be eating and not simply hanging around.
Finally, I saw the problem. Look at his crossed bill. The bird apparently was having great difficulty eating because of his bill abnormality.
I think all of us have a soft spot in our hearts for birds with any imperfections that might interfere with their lives. We put out some already cracked sunflower seeds for him. I think he will be all right, since he looks otherwise very healthy and I suspect he was born with this deformity. I hope he makes it.
Late entry: I don't think he will have any trouble at all, now that I know he is really a Red Crossbill. What a pleasant surprise!