Monday, May 9, 2011

Ruby-crowned Kinglets: Mid April Spring Migration through Northern Illnois

April, 2011,  had been colder than normal for northern Illinois'Aprils, and the migration of birds reaching northern Illinois has been slow this entire spring. But slow or not, migrants have been trickling in. Mid April brought the next wave a birds to our area. Of these birds the species I saw the most included both Kinglets (Ruby-crowns and Golden-crowns), Barn Swallows, and two more types of Ducks - Red Heads and Ring-necked Ducks.
The first Ruby-crowned Kinglet I saw this April, Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL; 4/17/2011.
The first time I ever identified a Ruby-crown was last summer in Colorado, so I was very happy to finally see one in our area. From mid April until early May, Ruby Crowns have been swarming the thickets of Rock Cut State Park. They hide quickly in the underbrush, but I found if I stand still for a bit they will not be afraid to get close. So I was able to get some nice close up shots of these little guys.  I saw a few with their ruby crests blazing, but I was tooo slow to get them in my viewfinder for a great picture. (Below) is the best photo I took this sping of a Ruby-Crown with its red crest visible.
You can see a touch of the red crest showing on this Ruby-crowned Kinglet,
Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL; 4/23/2011.
Ruby Crowns are on their way to Canada, Alaska and the higher cooler elevations of the Rocky Mountains. They spend their winters in the southern half of the U.S. as well as Mexico, but you can find them Year Round between the Rockies and Sierra Nevada Mountain ranges.
This little RC Kinglet was bold enough to stay close while I was snapping pictures,
Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL; 4/29/2011.
Ruby Crowns are a pale yellowish/olive bird with darker green and white wings and lighter underneath. They have very small bills which is effective in gleaning tiny insects off of branches. Two very good identifying marks for this Kinglet is their wide black and white wing bar across the secondaries, and its white eye-ring which is narrow at the top and bottom edges and wider in the front and back of the eye, giving it an oval shape.
Another Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL; 4/29/2011.

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