An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Ruby-crowned Kinglets Migrating

10-13-17 ruby-crowned kinglet 049A6145The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is named after the male’s red patch on the top of its head, which is barely discernible (see photo) unless the bird is excited or agitated. Often the only glimpse you get of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet is the constant flicking of wings as it actively forages in shrubs and trees for insects or fruit. Keep an eye out for this tiny bird (one of North America’s smallest songbirds) as this is the peak of its fall migration from its breeding grounds in Alaska, northern New England and Canada to southern U.S. and Mexico.

9 responses

  1. Sue Wetmore

    One of my exciting sightings of this small dynamo was with its red crest totally erect. Breathtaking!

    October 13, 2017 at 8:22 am

  2. Alice Pratt

    What a cute little guy!

    October 13, 2017 at 8:55 am

  3. Peter Hollinger

    I had them flitting around the lilac next to the patio yesterday.

    October 13, 2017 at 9:06 am

  4. I’ve always wondered how this tiny bird, and its cousin the golden-crowned kinglet, manages to survive winter in the Northeast, but they do. They are always a treat to see.

    October 13, 2017 at 9:11 am

    • Kathie Fiveash

      To me it seems that this is a good example of evolution taking different paths – the ruby crowned kinglet braves the dangers of migration in favor of being in a warm place with more reliable food sources, while the golden-crowned kinglet braves the dangers of the northern winter, eating frozen tiny caterpillars, but avoiding the dangers of migration. Berndt Heinrich’s book, Winter World, has amazing sections about the golden-crowned kinglet, which weighs about as much as 2 pennies, but manages to survive in the long darkness and cold. These little birds are an inspiration! So cheerful in the face of adversity.

      October 13, 2017 at 11:57 am

  5. I love these cute little birds! They visit my feeder. Jaunty and adorable.

    October 15, 2017 at 12:59 am

  6. Susan Johnson

    such cute birds!

    October 15, 2017 at 11:03 am

  7. Dorian Gossy

    I JUST saw a pair of ruby-crowns yesterday afternoon before I read this! They were at some distance from my house in a stand of mixed evergreens. I heard their neat trilly call first & didn’t recognize it, so I “pished” at them, & they came right out of the trees to check me out! Male’s crest all up & super bright. Very cool.

    October 16, 2017 at 12:18 pm

  8. Had a handful of ruby-crowns, along with a couple of golden-crowns, joining me for breakfast each morning for the last couple of weeks – until a few days ago. I could literally hold my coffee in one hand and photograph them with the other. I’ve never had that experience with these flighty little birds before. A rare opportunity to become very familiar with their varied calls, behavior, and traveling companions (yellow-rumped warblers, palm warblers, black-throated green warblers, and an occasional late-to-leave vireo).

    October 16, 2017 at 8:08 pm

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