Tiny Winter Visitors

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Regulus calendula      Peachtree Park, Atlanta, GA – December, 2015

Each year starting in mid to late November, we notice small birds flitting about in the branches of trees.  These are Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets.  Small means really small. Ruby-crowned Kinglets are 3.5 to 4.3 inches long and weigh .2 to .4 ounces and the Golden-crowned Kinglets are similar in size.  By comparison, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird is similar in size, 2.8 to 3.5 inches long, but weighs only about half as much.

The Kinglets we are seeing may be here for the winter, or they may be migrants on their way further south.  Since  we see them in January and February, we think ours may be residents.

The adult male Ruby-crowned only shows his red patch when he’s excited.  The Ruby-crowned has a solid face with a white eye ring.

The adult Golden-crowned’s bright yellow marking is always visible and he looks like he is wearing a mask.

Both birds are high energy and move constantly.  Their flight has been described as ‘swift, jerky and erratic’.  They don’t seem to be much intimidated by your presence and will go about their routine of collecting insects, spiders and beetles when you are close by.

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