Ruby-crowned Kinglet

15 April 2015. Cayuga ON. Funny thing about early spring migration is how it can blow hot and cold. Today it was cold, bird-wise that is. The weather on the other hand was delightful, bright sunshine, no wind, not a cloud anywhere and just a light crunch of frost across the fields. Under these conditions I did the daily census at the bird observatory.

Four of us trudged around. The list of species grew quickly but it was mostly in ones and twos. Of course some of the expected nesters: Tree Swallows, Red-winged Blackbirds and Black-capped Chickadees were around in numbers, but probably more than half of the page in my notebook tells a lean story: Common Grackle-2, Chipping Sparrow-2, Eastern Bluebird-1, Canada Goose-3, and so on.

I had some really sharp-eyed and sharp-eared helpers with me, and one of them, Lisa, picked up the song of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet well before the rest of us. The Ruby-crowned Kinglet’s song is a brief scramble of sweet notes ending with a series of four or five descending clearer notes. It’s the kind of song that demands you stop, listen and look for its owner. We found it quite easily and, as is typical with kinglets, it was endlessly moving on the hunt for small insects. It was my Bird of the Day in an otherwise average census round but, consistent with the morning’s experience, we only found one of them.