A Ruby-crowned Kinglet Singing and a Red-tailed Hawk in Flight

Late this morning I heard the quick, complex little song of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet coming from the thickets around one corner at the end of our street. The briskly whistled and twittered song sounds exactly like what I might imagine for the tiny, spritely bird. Hearing the song surprised me a little – it may not be unusual for it to sing in the fall, but I don’t remember noticing it often until the spring.

A Pine Warbler also sang its looser, musical trill in the woods, maybe in response to the lovely, cool, sunny fall day. A Northern Flicker clung to the trunk of a pine, feeding on the berries of a vine. A small feeding flock of birds moved through the woods, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, and Brown-headed Nuthatch, and I heard the nasal calls of a White-breasted Nuthatch in the distance. Yellow-rumped Warblers, lots of Chipping Sparrows, Eastern Bluebirds and an Eastern Phoebe foraged in the grass and hunted from low branches of trees in large rolling yards.

Several times I stopped to look for the Golden-crowned Kinglets I could hear – their calls like high, glassy splinters of ti-ti-ti, ti-ti-ti – but they stayed high up and hidden in the multi-colored mix of sunlit leaves and needles.

But another Ruby-crowned Kinglet was much easier to see, calling jidit-jidit as it traveled through a stand of privet along the roadside, bright-eyed and perky, moving quickly and lightly and close enough to watch its small round greenish-gray shape, bright white wing-bars, and white eye-ring. No ruby crest was showing. For a few seconds it hovered in the air over a tall weed, its wings a blur, then it flitted back to the privet and wild grape vines and other weeds.

A Red-tailed Hawk circled and climbed in a clear blue sky with blurry white clouds here and there. With large dark brown head, orange-red tail that appeared to be tipped in white, and broad, spread wings, and the pale of its under-side catching the light, it soared, rising above the traffic on the highway and all the roads and houses and noise in more ways than one.

Twelve Black Vultures circled together high in a loose column, climbing up, then sailing off toward the south, one after another.

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