Ruby-crowned Kinglet Singing – and Singing

Yesterday as I sat on the deck reading after lunch, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet began to sing in the low limbs of oaks around the edge of our back yard – and it sang and sang and sang – one quick, complex little song after another, with hardly one second’s pause in between. After about 15 minutes or so, I put my book down and began to look for it. I wished that I had begun counting, because I’ve never heard one sing so many times, though it may not be unusual. Ruby-crowned Kinglets, which are winter birds for us here, always seem to be tiny balls of energy, constantly on the move through shrubs or low branches of trees, flicking their wings often as they go – very small, roundish, gray-green birds with white wing bars, a white ring around the eye, and a ruby-red crest that isn’t always visible.

Many Ruby-crowned Kinglets have been singing here for the past few weeks – I heard the first ones on March 10 – as they usually do before leaving for their summer homes in the north. This one stayed in the same area around the back yard for at least 15 minutes, maybe much longer, moving through the branches but not nearly as quickly as one usually does. I watched it for a few minutes as it made its way very gradually from branch to branch, singing as it moved. Now and then it paused and lifted its head, as if to sing with even more attention.

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