Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

Regulus calendula

The Ruby-Crowned Kinglet ranges across nearly all of North America and Mexico, breeding in the north and wintering in the south. In the intermountain western USA and Great Basin, these birds may be resident year-round, though here many will come for only the summer’s breeding season. Most of their population ventures further north into Alaska and across Canada to the Atlantic shores. Winter weather will drive many south where they may range from the Pacific Northwest into Mexico, and across the USA’s mid-Atlantic states and south to the Gulf of Mexico and Florida.

These active little bundles of energy can be difficult to get good looks at, as they forage through tree foliage in search of tiny insect prey. When seen in glimpses, it can get confused with a Hutton’s Vireo, but a clean view at the beak reveals the truth. The vireo’s beak is stout with a shrike-like hook at the tip, while the kinglet’s bill is fine and pointed.

My meetings with these active little birds have been throughout western North America from southeastern Alaska, British Colombia, Montana, Wyoming and Texas, and from southern Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona. These birds move rapidly through dense foliage and are very tough to capture respectable images. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good!

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