He looked something like a goldfinch until, ta-dah, he showed his ruby red crown of feathers. Ruby-crowned Kinglets have olive-grey plumage with a conspicuous broken white eye ring, a thin black bill and short tail. The males have a small ruby, red crown of feathers which gives the bird its common name kinglet, Latin for 'little king'. At 4 inches they are about an inch shorter than a chickadee and weigh 5 to 10 grams or the same as one or two nickels.
Little groups of kinglets usually migrate by night, so you may wake up to discover your yard is a migratory stopover for the birds to rest and feed in evergreen tangles during the day. They are well camouflaged but sometimes betray their presence with lovely alto songs and flashing wing movements and hops like they are buzzing on caffeine.
The Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) nests mainly in the northern evergreen forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and further north into Canada. We will see them again in October when they pass through mid-Michigan again as they migrate to the southern United States and Mexico.