Snow, I think you may be right about that first bird being a crow! ( That top pic looks like he has a big yellow eye (grackle)....but perhaps that's a reflection.)
http://encarta.msn.com/media_461516485_ ... _Crow.html
Again, if we had an idea of the SIZE it would help! Crows are huge next to our regular favorites, and their constant noise should make them easy to ID! (I chase 'em away from my yard....they chow down on bird eggs and babes! I look pretty cute on springtime mornings out there in my nightgown with my slingshot!!
I've been watching my female cardinals at the feeder this morning.....my gals sure don't have as much color as the one here....and they're beaks are more yellow/gold.
There's another crested bird that lives on the western states that is very similiar to cardinals....I think it starts with pry....pyr....something like that.
It's funny how much interest this has generated....lots of bird-watchers here!......p