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Posts Tagged ‘kinglet’

Despite his diminutive size, this male Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) seemed to have plenty of attitude when I spotted him on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Size is relative, of course, but by almost any standard Golden-crowned Kinglets are tiny. The are about 3-4 inches (8 to 10 cm) in length and weigh only 0.1 to 0.3 ounces (4 to 8 gm). Their small size and hyperactivity make them a fun challenge to photograph.

I particularly like this bird’s combative stance and the way that it provides us with such a good view of its bright yellow “crown.” It is one of the rare occasions when I got an unobstructed shot of a kinglet—normally there are branches blocking at least part of the view.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Last weekend I again visited the bird banding station at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and was thrilled to see the friendly folks there process a pair of Golden-crowned Kinglets (Regulus satrapa), which are among the smallest birds in our area. Bands come in all different sizes and kinglets require the absolutely smallest-sized bands.

Here are some shots of the encounter including the initial processing of the bird; the actual banding of the bird (note its tiny legs); examination of the feathers of the bird; and the moment before the release of one of the little birds by a young visitor.

I love the fact that I was able to get so much closer to the bird and see so many wonderful details about its feathers and coloration than I would ever be able to do in the wild. As the old saying goes, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Golden-crowned Kinglets (Regulus satrapa) are not woodpeckers, but a tiny kinglet that I spotted this past weekend at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge seemed to be doing its best imitation of one as it pecked away at a little branchlet.

For those of you who are not familiar with Golden-crowned Kinglets, they are really, really small birds. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, these kinglets are 3.1-4.3 inches in length ( 8-11 cm) and weigh only 0.1-0.3 oz (4-8 gm). It is always exciting to spot a kinglet and always a challenge to get a unobstructed, in-focus shot of one.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I photographed this cute little Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) yesterday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The angle and exaggerated proportions make this kinglet look almost like a Disney cartoon to me.

If you have never seen one, Ruby-crowned Kinglets are tiny, even smaller than chickadees. They seem restless and are in perpetual motion, hopping from branch to branch and flicking their wings almost constantly, so I am happy whenever I am able to photograph one.

I can’t help but smile when I look at the photo and it almost looks to me like the tiny bird is smiling.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Under normal circumstances, Rub-crowned Kinglets (Regulus calendula) are described as “stocky” or “chubby” or “compact.” In cold weather, when they fluff up their feathers to retain heat, they amazingly grow even rounder in shape. These round balls of fluff bounce from branch to branch as they frenetically forage for food, reminding me of the pinball games that I used to play in my youth.

 

I was thrilled last Friday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge when this male Ruby-crowned Kinglet paused for a split-second on a branch and I was able to capture this image. I love the tilt of his head, the contrast between the curves of his body and the angular lines of his bill and wings, and the wonderful little details like the glimpse of his ruby crown and the peek  at his tiny little feet.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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On Monday, I was having a nice little portrait session with a male Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, but I wanted more than just a glimpse of his “ruby crown.” Amazingly, he bowed in my direction to make my wish come true.

For those of you who may not be familiar with kinglets, they are tiny birds that are even smaller than chickadees. During this past fall, I became aware that they spend their winters in my area and I have been hunting them ever since. Both the Ruby-crowned Kinglet and the Golden-crowned Kinglet are energetic and elusive and rarely sit still long enough for me to get a shot. When it comes to the “ruby crown,” only the male has it and it is only occasionally visible. That is why I was ecstatic to be able to get such a clear shot of the ruby crown of this kinglet.

Wishes do come true—maybe a ruby crown is better than ruby slippers.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It is exciting to photograph big birds, but it many ways it is even more of a challenge to get decent shots of the tiny frenetic ones, like this Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) that I photographed yesterday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Golden-crowned Kinglets are really small, about 2 to 4 inches in length (8 to 11 cm), which is smaller than a chickadee and larger than a hummingbird. They seem to like to forage deep within the branches of the vegetation, so it was really tough to get an unobstructed shot of one.

I decided yesterday to try shooting with a monopod, which helped me to stay focused on this particular bird as it moved about and be ready when it perched for a split second in the open. My Tamron 150-600mm lens is a little heavy and I think that it helped my steadiness to have the additional support of the monopod, though it did feel a little constraining. I think that I will start using the monopod regularly now and see if my images tend to get sharper.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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