Sunday, December 31, 2017

Cold Kinglets

I spent a little less than an hour birding our streets this morning, despite cold and damp conditions. I've remarked before about the great mixed-species foraging flocks of songbirds we get here in the winter, and I was hoping to find a couple particular species I haven't seen yet this season. One was Golden-crowned Kinglet and I was lucky to find a couple of these about a block from my house. I was at Broadmeade and Chester Forest trying to decide which road to take when I faintly heard a Black-crested Titmouse further down Broadmeade. So I walked towards it and eventually started hearing the faint high contact calls of this species near Broadmeade and Shady Oaks.

Black-crested Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee are two closely related year-round resident species here. They are both very vocal and often for the basis for mixed-species foraging flocks in the winter. When I got next to the trees the titmouse was in I saw it and a few more birds hopping around up in the canopy. Here was a mixed flock! I made a few "pish" sounds and immediately two titmice and two chickadees responded, flying right over my head and vocalizing. As I continued they were joined by Orange-crowned Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets. a Downy Woodpecker, a Blue-headed Vireo, and finally at least two Golden-crowned Kinglets!

Golden-crowned Kinglets and Ruby-crowned Kinglets are closely related very similar little drab green birds we have here in the winter. Ruby-crowned is by far more common, and some winters Golden-crowned are seemingly absent. But just about every winter I've been able to find Golden-crowned Kinglets in our neighborhood. Interestingly, they are much more common in all of our great trees among our houses than they are along Lake Creek Trail. And they are almost always part of these mixed flocks moving around the canopy. The two I found this morning sure did brighten my cold gray morning!

Here are a couple photos of one I took back in February 2013, near Stillforest and Meadowheath. (This morning I didn't take my camera with me since it sometimes arouses suspicion among neighbors.)

Golden-crowned Kinglet - 2

Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1

Here's my complete eBird list from this short fun walk.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you. Great photo and interesting information. I hope you have a Happy New Year!