Ruby-crowned Kinglet

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Tonight I’m featuring a couple of images of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  These are truly tiny birds, much smaller than a sparrow, smaller even than a Verdin.  They are seasonal residents in southern Arizona, showing up in late fall and hanging around until March or so, when they head back north.  They like brushy areas.  I’ve observed them in the riparian area at Sabino Canyon, at Sweetwater Wetlands, and in the trees and bushes at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

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The species gets its name from a tiny “crown” of brilliant red feathers on the top of the bird’s head, which the kinglet raises when it is upset or excited (there’s another, closely related species called the Golden-crowned Kinglet with a deep yellow crest).  But, here’s the thing.  I’ve seen these birds on numerous occasions and I have yet to see one of them showing its “crown.”  I would say that this species has an “alleged red crown” but for the fact that I have seen photographs of the bird showing its crown.  It’s there, it’s just not generally visible, and apparently, it’s never going to be visible when I see one of these birds.  Maybe it just doesn’t find me to be all that exciting.

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Ruby-crowned Kinglets are relatively easy birds to find and the devil to photograph.  They’re actually quite common in brushy areas.  They are cheerful, noisy little birds and they are not terribly timid around humans.   But, they never sit still for more than a second or two at a time, and when I see them,  they have a remarkable talent for perching with a branch or a twig between the bird and me.  At least that’s been my experience.  Obviously, I got lucky with this bird.

Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, aperture preferred setting, ISO 1000, f6.3 @ 1/125 (camera and lens braced against a bridge railing for stability).

2 responses to “Ruby-crowned Kinglet”

  1. Paule Hjertaas says :

    Only the males have the crown and you can sometimes see the red mark even if not raised. This time of year there are mostly females and immature birds so proportionately less with crowns.They are a lot more excitable in the spring.

  2. tkiiatmindspringcom says :

    You’re right, this is a very cute bird.

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