(This post originally published in October 2010)
While “deer hunting” in the kayak yesterday, I was fortunate to come upon a new, “life” bird … the Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula):
When I first spotted this little bird, I wasn’t sure what I was watching. As he moved his head, the red crown flashed, letting me know what this was (at least, what I thought it was at the time). And before I could grab any more shots, he flew out of the tree and over my head, to the other side of the water.
Once I got home and downloaded the images, I pulled out a couple of my bird identification books and made a positive ID on him. It was really neat seeing this little guy, especially after finding out that this is a true migrant bird to my area. The summer range of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is well north of me (northern Minnesota & Michigan and northward into Canada) and the winter range is well south of me (southern coastal states). Guess that is why I’d never seen one before!
From reading the bird ID books, looks like I was also lucky to see the ruby crown of this male. Both references state that the ruby crown is normally difficult to see, unless the bird is excited and raises his crown. When I spotted this little gem, there was another small bird with him and they seemed to be “sparring” a bit … don’t know if the other bird was another male Ruby Crown, or just an upset bird that the Ruby Crown was in his territory. And to be honest, without the ruby crown showing, I’d likely still be scratching my head and wondering what I saw! The books also state that this is a “hyperactive” bird, never staying still. I can attest to that, as he only allowed the above 2 images to be made before he flew off.
Just another example of never knowing what you will find when venturing out in nature. But a “life” bird is always a welcome sight to me!