Ace birder Jack Hayden, who recently spotted the first-ever Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Cesar Chavez Park, has struck again with this great image of a Golden-crowned Kinglet. He found this also in the Native Plant Area, where he had earlier found the rare hummingbird. He reports that he also saw a Ruby-crowned Kinglet near the golden-crowned, but was unable to get a photo. The kinglets are notoriously hard to see. They love to hang out in thick piney evergreens where you would normally never catch a glimpse of them. Jack was very lucky to see one among bare branches, and very skillful to get his camera on it, framed and focused, in time to catch a photo of this fast-moving little creature, hardly bigger than a hummingbird. When they wear their breeding plumage in winter, males of the species display a showy yellow bush on their heads. Only two previous sightings of a Golden-crowned Kinglet have been recorded in Cesar Chavez park, ever.
The Cornell bird lab website has these “Cool Facts” about Golden-crowned Kinglets:
The tiny Golden-crowned Kinglet is hardier than it looks, routinely wintering in areas where nighttime temperatures can fall below –40° Fahrenheit.
Although it used to nest almost exclusively in boreal spruce-fir forests, the Golden-crowned Kinglet has been expanding its breeding range southward into conifer stands of the Midwest and Appalachians.
The Golden-crowned Kinglet usually raises two large broods of young, despite the short nesting season of the northern boreal forest. The female feeds her first brood only up until the day after they leave the nest. She then starts laying the second set of eggs while the male takes care of the first brood. The male manages to feed eight or nine nestlings himself, and he occasionally feeds the incubating female too.
Each of the Golden-crowned Kinglet’s nostrils is covered by a single, tiny feather.
The oldest Golden-crowned Kinglet on record was a male, and at least 6 years, 4 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased by a Minnesota bird bander in 1976.