Kindling Neighborly Connections between People and Nature.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Wild Neighbor: Ruby-crowned kinglet

Meet our wild neighbor, the ruby-crowned kinglet. This tiny songster could easily fit in the palm of a small child's hand, yet it's got a personality that more than compensates for its diminutive size. It is a round grayish-olive colored bird that seems to lack a neck, has a short pointed beak, partial eye ring, single white wing bar with a black bar just behind it, and black wings and tail feathers edged in yellow!

The male of this species does sport a small ruby-red crown which is raised when the bird is excited.

One of the qualities to appreciate about the ruby-crowned kinglet is it's complex three-part song. When it sings its so loud for such a little bird that its easy to imagine that it enjoys boasting about its musical talent!

You can listen to a recording of its complex three part song by following this link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

A north-woods breeder, the ruby-crowned kinglet is a close relative to the golden-crowned kinglet with whom it's breeding range overlaps in Southern Canada and in the mountain ranges of the American West.
a golden-crowned kinglet, a close relative of the ruby-crowned kinglet
Another amazing fact about the ruby-crowned kinglet is that it has the ability to lay up to a dozen eggs in a single nest each year!

The two I encountered during the past two days were not boasting about their singing abilities. I can't blame them. During migration it pays not to waste precious energy that needs to be used for flight power enough to take them to the Southern United States and for some as far as Mexico. They were totally silent as each daintily and meticulously hopped through thick shrubs and vines along the shore of Hammond Lake (11/2) and Pine Creek (11/3) picking for small insects among the branches.

I could tell you even more facts about this captivating little bird and share more of my experience with it, but nothing quite compares to experiencing this tiny wild neighbor for yourself.

Head out to the creek or lake shore and you might just see one yourself!

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