Yesterday morning I spent time focused on photographing Ruby-crowned Kinglets in a Wasatch Mountain Canyon in a thicket of hawthorn and chokecherry trees. The intermittent winds made it harder to follow these tiny dynamos as they foraged in the branches and leaves.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet perched in a Hawthorn – Nikon D500, f9, 1/1000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Ruby-crowned Kinglets are year round residents in northern Utah though normally I see them most often in the fall when they begin to move down from the high mountains for the upcoming winter.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet on a windy September morning – Nikon D500, f9, 1/1000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I saw more than a dozen individual kinglets yesterday morning in the hawthorn tree and I was probably only able to photograph half of them because the others remained hidden by the branches and leaves. It is always nice when they show up without leaves in front of them like this kinglet did for a few seconds.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet foraging in a Hawthorn tree – Nikon D500, f9, 1/800, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Even though the hawthorn leaves covered part of this kinglet’s body I couldn’t resist taking photos of it because of how well the kinglet and the branch stood out from the background in this photo. I’d even go so far as to say this is my favorite Ruby-crowned Kinglet image of the many I took yesterday.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Hawthorn berries – Nikon D500, f9, 1/1000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
And even though the branches, leaves and hawthorn berries made for a cluttered setting in this photo I found I liked it because of the blue sky in the background and the great eye contact with the bird.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet about to take flight – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Ruby-crowned Kinglets move fast, so fast that I missed the kinglet taking off right after I took this photo and I knew the lift off was imminent so I was taking a long burst of photos. The next frame was looked just like this except that the bird was completely out of the frame.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet looking up into a Hawthorn – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
What I did find odd yesterday was that these kinglets were silent and normally I hear them as they forage, perhaps they were silent because of the winds, I don’t know for sure.
I hope to find more Ruby-crowned Kinglets in my viewfinder this fall.
Life is good.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet facts and information:
- Ruby-crowned Kinglets are tiny, olive-green birds with white eye rings, white wing bars, dark eyes and rounded heads. Males have ruby red crests that are only visible when they are excited.
- Ruby-crowned Kinglets are migratory although some populations in the West are year round residents who just move to lower elevations during the winter.
- During the breeding season Ruby-crowned Kinglets are found in the northwestern parts of the U.S. and across Canada in spruce-fir forests, mixed woods and mountain shrub habitat, during the winter and migration they are found in thickets and woods across the country as far south as Mexico.
- Ruby-crowned Kinglets eat spiders and insects, they will also eat some seeds and fruit.
- Ruby-crowned Kinglets lay 5 to 12 eggs which hatch in 12 to 14 days. The female incubates and they are monogamous.
- Groups of Ruby-crowned Kinglets can be called a “castle”, “princedom”, “court” and “dynasty” of kinglets.