Ruby-Crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) photos by Larry Jordan
If you live anywhere other than Western North America, you may be able to identify this bird by its tiny size, its broken eye ring and its petite bill. In the far West however, the Ruby-Crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) can be confused with Hutton’s Vireo (Vireo huttoni). Click on photos for full sized images.
The black highlight bar behind the white wing bar on the Ruby-crowned Kinglet sets it apart from the Vireo.
These beautiful little birds grace my yard every autumn and I always look forward to their visits. The females pictured above showed up a couple of weeks ago with a male. He’s the one with the ruby crown.
I agree with Corey on this one, “Few birds are as likely to bring a smile to an observer than a kinglet and their abundance means that the sheer number of smiles that they have caused must be enormous. Other birds have more colors, more size, more cache. But kinglets remain, well, king, at least to this birder.”
This was the first time I had witnessed these little bundles of energy bathing in my water feature.
I know this is a bit blurry but I had to include it because I never realized that these little bathing beauties engage in such contortions. This female’s head is completely turned around!
I guess that was enough to catch the attention of this male Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria).
But how do you know its a Ruby-crowned Kinglet when you first spot ‘um? From their behavior! As Pete Dunne describes them “a bird that moves like spit on a skillet.” They sometimes hover like hummingbirds also.
He continues that description as “a tiny, compact, hyperactive, and undistinguished bird that draws attention to itself by its perpetual motions and habitual wing-flicking1.”
Doesn’t she look pretty all cleaned up? Check out those orangish feet…
and the distinctive wing pattern.
References: 1Dunne, Pete (2006). Pete Dunne’s Essential Field Guide Companion. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the habitat manager for the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Stamp.
Donna's 2014 Year List - 491
Redgannet's 2014 Year List - 470
Carlos's 2014 Year List - 325
Corey's 2014 Year List - 225
Clare M's 2014 Year List - 208
Jochen's 2014 Year List - 184
Duncan's 2014 Year List - 174
Carrie's 2014 Year List - 047
Carlos's 2013 Year List - 1587
Jochen's 2013 Year List - 553
Corey's 2013 Year List - 511
Donna's 2013 Year List - 438
Duncan's 2013 Year List - 430
Clare M's 2013 Year List - 368
Redgannet's 2013 Year List - 212
Larry's 2013 Year List - 206
Redgannet's 2012 Year List - 660
Jochen's 2012 Year List - 542
Corey's 2012 Year List - 525
Felonious Jive's 2012 Year List - 404
Duncan's 2012 Year List - 402
Clare M's 2012 Year List - 300
Clare K's 2012 Year List - 040
Greg's 2012 Year List - 004