Monday, September 17, 2007

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

We have a crabapple tree outside our bedroom window; it has inedible apples (at least for humans), but it is great at attracting birds. Today I saw a new visitor, a small tan/gray finch-like bird with a partial white ring around its eyes and the odd habit of hovering near the branch like an awkward hummingbird. I found it fairly quickly in Stokes (my single favorite bird book), and discovered that it is a ruby-crowned kinglet, a bird I didn't even know existed. The hovering near the end of the branch, as it looks for spiders and insects, is a distinguishing characteristic, while the ruby crown is very hard to see. It is very common elsewhere, causing birders to wish it were less so when they are studying mixed flocks, but we are on the edge of its summer range and it isn't very common around here.

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