Golden-crowned kinglets are shy, unassuming little birds. Not at all what one would expect from creatures with the terms "crown" and "king" embedded in their name.
They are so small and quiet that they can be easily overlooked...
...as they flicker from branch to branch in search of even smaller creatures.
When they do make a sound it is so soft and gentle that it is easily missed. Click Here and then scroll down to play an example.
Their cousins, ruby-crowned kinglets are equally shy. However, their song is slightly more musical. Click Here and then scroll down to play the "neighboring" example, from Oregon.
Ruby-crowned kinglets tend to spend their time a bit closer to the ground, searching through the underbrush. The most obvious physical differences between the two types of kinglets, excluding their crowns, are the white eye-rings of the ruby-crowned kinglet and the back and white stripes on the head of the golden-crowned kinglets.
This golden-crowned is a female, since it lacks the flaming orange crown of a male.
When the male gets excited he displays the center-piece of his crown.
So far, this is my best example of a ruby-crowned kinglet. The first time I saw one of these subtle red marks I wondered if a predatory bird had scratched the kinglet's head, leaving a small stain of blood.
I have now photographed this little mark on multiple birds, but an erect ruby-crown remains on my bucket list. You can see what I am searching for on All About Birds.
This time of year, kinglets make me wonder about the history of Christmas tree decorations. Here is a short sample of where my thoughts go.
It is easy to imagine the tiny birds calling softly to each other, as they dance among the branches. Their occasionally brilliant colors and happy sounds inspiring thoughts of sunshine, spring and warmth. Perhaps, the brilliance of colorful little birds like kinglets, inspired the idea of bringing a tree indoors and creating beautiful ornaments to brighten the dark of winter.
Have a Happy Holiday on Union Bay...where nature thrives in the city!
This was last week's silhouette. Without being able to see the eyes or the crown the best expected guess is simply the general designation of kinglet.
Can you guess which type of duck this silhouette belongs to? The answer will be in next week's post.