About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Small bird dancing in pine tree

Spring migration is in full swing and the warmer weather should strengthen the movement northward for many more arrivals. Saturday customers were streaming in looking for BirdBerry™ Jelly for their arriving Baltimore Orioles. I’ve had my feeder up for a couple weeks hoping for mine to arrive too with no luck. I’m not too worried. He usually shows up May 9th. I think I would actually be shocked if he showed up early one year.

In the meantime, the cardinals and finches are enjoying the oriole fruit and jelly. And while I was watching a chickadee at the window seed feeder, I spotted a new bird in the pine tree. First I saw the silhouette. It was as small as a hummingbird, then I saw it was the color of a winter goldfinch, but it was bouncing around the pinecones faster than a chickadee...a Ruby-crowned Kinglet! Such a treat to see migrating through.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons
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.

Related articles
Little King: The Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Black-capped Chickadee: Nature's Backyard Charmer
Small Mysterious Black & White Bird Visits Mid-Michigan
Keep Your Eyes Open for Migrating Warblers

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