Friday, November 27, 2015

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

The bird with the  magic-hat is the   Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Only slightly larger than a hummingbird, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is an entertainer.

This male arrived at our window sill with a thud.

Not just one thud either, but thud after thud as he did battle with his enemy.

His enemy was in the glass...his reflection.

Staring into the glass, he flares his magic-hat in an attempt to look as fit and strong as possible to his rival. Not surprisingly, he's evenly matched with his 4inch, 0.3 oz. reflection. The staring and flaring eventually prompts an eruption of claws and a full frontal attack on the window. 

Thud after thud into the window seems to invigorate the fight in him more than discourage it. 

The battle continues until both combatants tire out. 

(Click any picture to enlarge.)

He turns his back on the problem to think it over.

He is a pretty little bird in olive gray-green tones.

Soft shades of yellow outline his primary feathers and a white ring circles his eye.

And, of course, the red hat that makes him an attractive little packet of energy.

He can display as much or as little of his ruby crown as he chooses, depending on his mood.

Nevertheless, the window always matches him stare-for-stare and flare-for-flare, as this is a zero sum game for him.

Not so with windows in general because windows are a major threat to birds. 

Birds see the sky reflected in the glass and often crash headlong into it. 

The cost to the bird, if lucky, is an injury, but millions of birds die this way every year.

Always in motion the Ruby-crowned Kinglet thrives on insects and spiders, aphids and ants. 

Interestingly, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet population has held steady for the past fifty years. They have adapted to the human interruptions of windows in their way. 

The fact that they are small and lightweight may be their salvation. 


Credits: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds