Pure energy packed into a tiny package.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets are short-haul migrant winter visitors to our neighborhood. They only migrate to and from the U.S.’s south and northern Mexico to the upper regions of Canada. This is even more remarkable when you think about just how tiny they are: 3.5-4.3 in (9-11 cm), 0.2-0.3 oz (5-10 g). It is a lot of miles to fly on wings that are 6.3-7.1 in (16-18 cm) in span.
They are great visitors to have in our yard. They are in constant movement and bring bursts of energy to a sometimes otherwise dull and gray days.
And, if the males are agitated, they bring a pop of ruby color. They most common cause of the agitation is an intruder into his territory. These frequent territorial disputes make them the ‘hummingbirds of winter’. They put on frantic displays of intimidation and sometimes outright wrestling matches that take them to the ground. As fierce as it seems, I’ve never seen a bad injury or fatality. The intruder moves on to the next insect laden tree, bush, or shrub and like hummingbirds uses quickness and agility as a prime defense.
In a bit of environmental good news, these little birds are holding their own numbers wise. Their wide use of habitats and food sources helps them adapt to most human disturbances. They also respond very well to the simple backyard conservation actions that move a yard from manicured lawn to health ecosystem.
Photography Note: All of these shots were taken with an Olympus OMD EM1x & mZuiko 150-400F4.5 1.25 TC. They mobility of this kit allows me to chase these high energy birds and to use the 1000mm reach handheld to get close.