I got my best and longest looks ever at the Ruby-crowned Kinglet when I had three fall migrants stop in my yard a few days ago.
Here are my impressions and observations of this little bundle of energy:
- In constant movement, gleaning insects mostly from the underside of leaves
- A little chubby; more rotund than the warblers passing through at same time of year.
- At only 4" long, it's smaller than our goldfinches and chickadees, as well as the warblers.
- Very thin, pointy bill - all the better for picking insects off leaves!
- Very thin skinny legs which are darker than their orangish feet
- Broken eye-ring gives their eyes a "deep set" and oversized appearance. I think it sometimes makes their eyes look sad.
- Don't let the name fool you - you'll seldom see the ruby crown.
Here's some tidbits about the Ruby-crowned Kinglet from the experts:
Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America by Ted Floyd
"Hyperactive; always fidgety. Flicks wings constantly. Forages at mid-level in tree, singly or in flocks with other species."
Essential Field Guide Companion by Pete Dunne
"A tiny, compact, hyperactive, and undistinguished bird that draws attention to itself by its perpetual motions and habitual wing-flicking."
Birds of New York State by Bob Budliger and Gregory Kennedy
"The wing flicking is thought to startle insects into movement, allowing the kinglet to spot them and pounce."
Kinglets drop by my yard during most fall migrations, but this is the first time I've seen three. What fun little visitors to have!