Ruby-crowned Kinglet – A Close Encounter on a Very Cold Day

Today has been sunny, windy and very cold all day. When I went for a walk about half an hour before the sun went down, the wind had eased a little, the sky looked clear, and a blurry gibbous moon was rising in the east. As I walked past a house with a large grassy yard, a tiny Ruby-crowned Kinglet flew suddenly to the edge of the grass along the road – only inches away from my feet – and immediately began rapidly searching in the short, dry grass-edge for food, flicking its wings and moving quickly. It was so close that if I had leaned down, I could have touched it. And so close that its extremely small size was much more obvious than usual. It looked fragile in this frigid, windy weather – though I know it must be pretty tough to survive at all. 

Its colors were bright and clear, a little gray-green bird with sharp white marks on its wings and a white ring around its eye, and I could even see – because it was right below me – a thin sliver of ruby-red on its crown. I stopped and watched, and it seemed to pay no attention to me at all, completely absorbed in its search for food. As it moved, I walked along beside it, very slowly, and for a few moments it continued to forage like this, right along the edge of the road and grass. After a few minutes, it suddenly flew back across the road toward a line of evergreen trees and big shrubs. 

I hope it found enough food and survived the night – maybe tucked deep into a good thick evergreen. 

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