Went hiking and birding at Patrick's Point State Park this morning. Came across plenty of finicky skulky birds--kinglets, chickadees, wrens, sparrows--none of which were too keen on getting their picture taken. My friend Jeremy was able to psssh out this Ruby-crowned Kinglet just long enough for me to document proof of its existence.
The Ruby-crown is migratory, breeding in the northern reaches of the continent and wintering in the southern U.S. Around this time they begin arriving in impressive numbers; I often find them in large mixed flocks with the previously mentioned species.
The kinglets are grouped into their own family, Regulidae. The five other species don't really resemble the Ruby-crown apart from their diminutive size and flighty disposition. The other species in North America, the Golden-crowned Kinglet, with its brilliant yellow and black crest, looks much more like its European cousins, the Goldcrest and Firecrest. The genus Regulus is derived from the Latin for king, referring to the kinglets' brightly colored crowns. Uniquely, the Ruby-crown sports a fire-engine red crest, though it is often understated or absent altogether.
- Panasonic DMC-FZ40