Two Ruby-crowned Kinglets Clash

March has begun with classic, constantly changing March weather – windy, cloudy and cool one day, sunny and warm the next – and now today it’s chilly again, with strong winds and big gray and white clouds, and sun that comes and goes, as a cold front moves through.

Carpets of purple henbit have begun to appear in fields and pastures, and tiny bluets speckle yards and roadsides with petals the color of the sky. Many Brown Thrashers now are sitting in the tops of trees and singing. A pair of Eastern Bluebirds hunt from low branches in the trees around our front yard, and now and then one of them sits on top of the bluebird box possessively. Northern Cardinal, Carolina Wren, Pine Warbler, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee and House Finch sing. A small flock of Cedar Waxwings flew over once, late this morning, against the low gray clouds – a strangely unusual sight, because I haven’t seen them often this winter.

From the edge of some shrubs tangled with dead brown vines, came a small, explosive burst of twittered song, fast and furious in tone, and a tiny Ruby-crowned Kinglet, with its red crest raised, chased another Ruby-crowned Kinglet through the bushes. The encounter was quickly over in a blur of gray wings, the whistled song almost snapping with intensity, as the kinglet being chased flew away. The other one remained on a branch in front of me for maybe a minute, as if to catch its breath, a bit ruffled but victorious, at least for the moment – a very small bird with gray-green head, white eye-ring, crisp white wing bars, and a ruby crown still fluffed up in an indignant feathered peak. Then it moved away, deeper into the thicket, chattering its stuttered jidit-jidit call.

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