Kinglets like cold weather

There are two species of kinglets, and both of them breed here in Northwestern Ontario.
They are little birds, smaller and shorter than most warblers, with pointy beaks. They also have a habit, which makes them appear quite nervous, flicking their wings quite often.
Both species breed all across Canada, from the Yukon to Labrador, except for the really open Prairies and most of true southern Ontario.
For the most part, they seem to prefer fairly thick forests, whether evergreen or not.
They are insect eaters and spend their time, as so many small birds do, carefully going over the foliage picking up small insects, eggs, and larvae.
Once again, these tiny, inconspicuous birds play a large part in the protection of our forests.
The Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) is the one your are likely to recognize most easily. Its basic colour is sort of olivey-green and grey, but it has a very distinguishing head.
A prominent yellow crown is on the top, with a bright orange band in the middle. The yellow is, in turn, bordered almost all the way round with a wide black band.
It also has two whitish wing bands.
Meanwhile, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) is much the same overall, except for his head. This time, the head mark is bright red. But it is fairly small, and sometimes you can’t see it until he raises his head feathers (which he does quite often).
The female has no red on her head at all.
One good identifying mark for both of them is a prominent eye ring, which gives them a sort of “bug-eyed” look. This is probably your easiest means of identification.
The Golden has a call note in three parts (see-see-see). Its song is high and sort of reedy, and to most people is not very musical.
It sounds almost like a bit of chatter.
The Ruby is the real singer, and its song is surprising in several ways. For one, it is usually in threes. It starts with high-pitched notes, then low, chattering ones, and finally loud phrases (very musical).
To try to write it, many people go something like this: “Tee-tee-tee, tur-tur-tur, teedawee, teedawee, teedawee.”
Another odd thing is the volume of the sound coming from such a tiny bird. If we had the same sound-making ability, we could talk to each other quite easily even if we were a mile or more apart.
These little mites of birds are not really much afraid of humans. There are many reports of them taking food from human hands, landing on a person’s head or shoulders, and generally being quite trusting.
So those are our wee kinglets. Tiny birds, easily recognized, they often hang around with chickadees, nuthatches, and the like, especially in cold weather.
Look for them in the fall. As they drift through, they sometimes can be here in very large numbers.

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