Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A Question About Kinglets

I remember when I was a boy, hearing my Mother, who was quite a birdwatcher, talk about kinglets migrating through every fall. Their appearance was fleeting, and I don't recall that I actually ever saw one, but her telling me about them every year gave them a real sense of reality, and because my Mother loved seeing them, I've always had a spot in my heart for kinglets; it now seems a little funny to think I've felt real attached all these years to a tiny bird I'd never actually seen. Well, this all changed last fall, when I was standing in the middle of the garden, thinking about who knows what, and a gold crested kinglet landed on a branch not two feet from my nose, and sat there looking at me with his little button eyes. Though as mentioned I'd never actually seen one, I instantly knew what it was; the tiniest, cutest little bird in the world, with a bright, orange-gold crest on its head. To my delight, he stuck around the garden, flitting through the shrubs hunting for food, and every day I'd go out to look for him. Then, to my complete astonishment, two days later a pair of ruby crowned kinglets showed up. I was completely smitten by these delightful little birds, and in kinglet heaven. As fall turned to winter, one day the kinglets disappeared as quietly and as quickly as they had appeared. It was always my understanding that they are just transients here on their great migration. Today I was out walking through the woods, looking for cat collars; being concientious pet owners, we bought break-away collars for our two kittens, and Snickers, who I have speculated previously on these pages must have FADD (feline attention deficit disorder) has managed to lose three of these collars in about six months. She's quite proud of herself, and of no help in finding them. My wife says she's selling them, but I think it's just a game for her. Now you'd think that we'd find at least one of these three day-glo bright blue collars with shiny red name tags, but so far no luck. Well, anyway, as I was scouring the woods, what should land in front of my face, but a ruby crowned kinglet. Now the question is whether he's just passing through, or whether they actually nest here, and because they are so tiny, I'd just never noticed them. Even their call is tiny; just the faintest, sweetest little chirping. I will have kinglets on my mind this year.

I think the kinglets (both species) are migrants in your area. Not basing this on any personal knowledge, but on the maps on Cornell's All About Birds site. Kinglets are one of my favorite birds. I see them passing through here in the fall, but last winter there was a ruby-crowned visiting the suet feeder most days.
I'm disappointed, but not surprised, to learn the kinglets are likely just passing through. You must have an awesome variety of birds where you are.
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