BIRDS OF NEW ENGLAND AND EASTERN NEW YORK - HOFFMANN

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KINGLETS: FAMILY SYLVIIDÆ [REGULIDÆ]

RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. Regulus calendula [Cothylio calendula]
4.41 in.

Ad. ♂.— Upper parts gray, with a greenish tinge in strong light; crown with a partially concealed patch of flame-colored feathers; wing-bars whitish; under parts dull whitish. Ad.♀.— Lacks the crown-patch.

Nest and Eggs as in the following species.

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a rather common migrant through New York and New England, in April, and again in October. It probably breeds sparingly in eastern Maine, but in the rest of New England it is unknown in summer. In the migrations it frequents the edges of woodland, or pastures overgrown with bushes and small trees. Like its relative the Golden-crowned Kinglet, it is often found in evergreens, either red cedar groves or the spruces in plantations. Its feeding habits are similar to its relative's. It inspects the twigs with restless activity, frequently flitting its wings.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet


The harsh, grating call-note of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is often the first thing that attracts our attention to it. Often the repetition of this note is followed by the song, a performance deservedly noted for its sweetness, brightness, and vigor; it may always be recognized by the high, thin introductory notes and by a phrase of three notes, tee'--repeated several times toward the end of the song.

The song is often uttered in the fall.

When a male is excited, the feathers of the crown are slightly raised and show the flame-colored patch from which the term ruby-crowned has been derived. If two males pursue each other, the color actually seems to blaze forth, but often no color at all is visible. The species, nevertheless, may always be distinguished from the Golden-crowned Kinglet by the absence of any markings over the eye, the adult Golden-crown always showing at every season the black stripes inclosing the yellow crown. The eye of the Ruby-crown is surrounded by a whitish ring which makes it seem large and prominent for so small a bird.


GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. Regulus satrapa
4.07 in.

Ad. ♂.— Upper parts gray, with a greenish tinge in strong light; wing-bars whitish; crown orange, edged with yellow and black; line over the eye white; under parts dull whitish. Ad. ♀.— Crown-patch entirely yellow edged with black. Im. in summer.— Lacks yellow crown-patch, black lines very indistinct.

Nest, globular, of moss, etc., in an evergreen from six to sixty feet up. Eggs, sometimes as many as ten, dull white, faintly speckled with buffy.

The Golden-crowned Kinglet is a common summer resident in the Canadian Zone (see map), but throughout the rest of New York and New England a winter visitant only, arriving in late September and leaving by the end of April. In northern New England it is not common in winter. Kinglets are often associated in winter with Chickadees; if, therefore, the sharp tsit of the Chickadee is heard in fall or winter, it is well to follow the sound and, when the Chickadees appear, to keep eye and ear alert for any of their traveling companions. Often the Kinglets travel alone, searching restlessly the twigs of trees and hedges, following perhaps a well-marked course through plantations and woodland, and calling to each other with a thin sharp see-see-see. If the birds are in thick evergreens, spruces or cedars, it is very hard to get even a glimpse of them, but in leafless apple-trees, a favorite resort, they display their brightly marked heads and quick, restless ways. They do not cling to a twig upside down like the Chickadees, but occasionally one flutters for an instant before the desired morsel and picks it off. Their numbers vary from winter to winter, and even in the course of a single season there seems often to be a fluctuation. In April their numbers increase, as the birds that have wintered to the southward pass through as migrants. In March and April the males continue the lisping note, put more and more power into it, and then by a descending trill fall, as it were, from the height to which they have scaled, — this is the song of the Golden-crowned Kinglet. The lisp of the Chickadee, the screep of the Brown Creeper, and the see-see-see of the Kinglet all have a strong resemblance. The last two are sharper and more finely drawn out, the Kinglet's is quickly repeated, while the Creeper's is one long continuous note.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet


In summer the Kinglets keep almost wholly in the spruces, and are thus even more inconspicuous than in winter; their song and call-notes, however, make their presence known. Their call is now often longer and still more like that of the Creeper. The young, which are found in little companies in late July and August, lack the head-markings of the adult; they may be recognized by their small size and by their lisping notes, identical with those of their parents.



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