Ruby-crowned Kinglet

April 16, 2016  •  1 Comment

Saturday was a great day with warm temps, sun, and recent South winds bringing in a lot of migrant birds. Looking at doppler radar late in the evening (around 10pm) can show the lift off and movement of the birds as they move up from the South. Its a pretty cool thing to see so if you have clear night skies, check your weather radar or take a look at this link:

I headed out early Saturday morning without a solid plan on where to go. I figured I would start driving and figure it out as I go. Just a few miles down the road I decided to pull over and check out a local stream. I was glad I did, because I ran into a dense pocket of birds that had recently arrived on those South winds. I was also pleasantly surprised to find several Ruby-crowned Kinglets feeding in the brush along the stream. I spent a few hours waiting patiently for my photo opportunity, and just when I was starting to think I was going to get skunked, a pair of Kinglets flew in and started to feed right in front on me. Now if you are familiar with Kinglets, you know they are one of the smallest and most energetic birds out there and this makes them extremely difficult to photograph. Whether it was luck or skill (I admit...mostly luck), I was able to capture a moment when one of the birds sat still for a split second. Alas, I missed a couple of chances to capture a male with its ruby crown flared up slightly, but maybe some more luck will fall my way and I will succeed next time.


Cool Facts

  • The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a tiny bird that lays a very large clutch of eggs—there can be up to 12 in a single nest. Although the eggs themselves weigh only about a fiftieth of an ounce, an entire clutch can weigh as much as the female herself.
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglets seem nervous as they flit through the foliage, flicking their wings nearly constantly. Keeping an eye out for this habit can be a useful aid to identifying kinglets.
  • Metabolic studies on Ruby-crowned Kinglets suggest that these tiny birds use only about 10 calories (technically, kilocalories) per day.
  • The oldest known Ruby-crowned Kinglet was a female, and at least 4 years, 7 months old. She was a banded individual captured (and re-released) at a California banding station in 2007.




This tiny bird is certainly amazing. Love the red branches throughout, makes this image even more stellar.
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