Ruby Crowned Kinglets ~ Regulus calendula

Ruby Crowned Kinglets ~ Regulus calendula

This morning I watched six Ruby Crowned Kinglets foraging for insects in our Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) trees.

One of the smallest birds in our area, they look very warbler-like with their olive/yellow coloring.

They have a white eye ring much like some vireos but the give-away is their small size and needle-like beak.

These Kinglets are migrating south, nesting just north of us in northern Minnesota and Canada.

It's fun to see them arrive in spring, and again this time of year as they forage through our native shrubs and trees in search of insects. Insects are their primary diet.

"Ruby-Crowned Kinglets prey on spiders, pseudoscorpions, and many types of insects, including aphids, wasps, ants, and bark beetles. Kinglets usually forage in high tree foliage, hovering and pecking in order to glean insects from the surface of leaves and branches." (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Many of the Kinglets I saw this morning were males. One would be foraging for insects and a second would fly by and try to displace him from his choice place. A chase would follow, and the male would return back to the same place, now agitated. When males are agitated they raise the bright red crest feathers on the top of their heads.

These red feathers are hard to spot otherwise, when they lay flat against the male's head.

Kinglets never stay still for long. They're constantly on the move in trees and shrubs, looking for insects above and below leaves.

Keep your eyes open for more bird species passing through. I saw several warblers last week, and this afternoon Fox Sparrows were foraging on the ground in our woodland leaves.