Ruby-crowned kinglet


I had an excellent morning birding at Elbow Park Park (a nameless park in the Elbow Park neighborhood) this Wednesday. I got there a little after 10 am and the sun was shining. Because the temperature is a bit cold in the mornings these days, the birds were still busily moving within and between the many trees and bushes. The big, big highlight: I got to photograph many, many ruby-crowned kinglets! I’ve seen a few glimpses of them lately at Elbow Park Park and River Park – warbler-like, but a bit smaller, mostly olive green, a prominent white eye-ring, black wing feathers with yellow edges, and a white wing bar followed by a black wing bar. I thought I was seeing ruby-crowned kinglets but I couldn’t be sure; their appearances were such a blur. But Wednesday, I saw many, and they didn’t seem to mind me standing 3 or 4 meters away as they moved incessantly from branch to branch, gleaning insects from the shrubs.

The male’s namesake ruby crown is rarely visible. All About Birds says they may show it when excited and singing in the spring or summer.

Elbow Park Park is quite big. It covers about 4 city blocks. It has a huge mowed grass area, tennis courts and a playground. And it has a lovely bluff on the west side covered with all kinds of bushes and trees and tall grasses: birdland! I think the shrubby little berry tree in which I photographed a few kinglets is a Serviceberry tree (Amelanchier). I’ve seen similar trees elsewhere in Calgary, all with red fruit. The fruit looks like Saskatoon berries (Juneberries) but they aren’t purple. Update: I think the tree-shrub is some kind of Hawthorn (Crataegus) since the branches have long thorns; the “berries” are wee pome fruits.

A small section of the bluff in its early fall colours:


And a few more ruby-crowned kinglets:









    1. Thanks Teresa :-). The park is particularly magical at bird time. Sometimes the birds are quiet and invisible (usually midday and early afternoon). I did see a few ruby-crowned kinglets in the willows on the east side of the Lost Lagoon and in a willow near the pond at Jericho Beach. But my old camera didn’t have enough zoom for me to take their picture.

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  1. Beautiful – they do look like their surroundings right now – at first i didn’t even see that sweet little thing in the first picture – and then – AH HA! What a sweet surprise 🙂

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    1. Thanks Jodi :-). I like the one where you can just see the eye. It is nice to see the little bird details but sometimes it is also interesting to see what they look like in their environment. And autumn brings such lovely colours!


  2. They are soooo hard to photograph! Not only do they move about and change their position so frequently, they are almost always in dense vegetation. They and the blue-gray gnatcatchers are my photographic BANE. Great post and shots. Love that blue sky, such pleasing color saturation. Cheers!

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    1. Thanks Shannon :-). Wow! I just checked out some of your bird photos. You have lovely shots of lots of little guys – warblers and sparrows and vireos… – and the larger bird photos are beautiful too. I’d only seen your hummingbird photos before.


        1. I saw your birds by clicking on Birding in your category cloud. Then I clicked on a bird photo in one of your blog posts. And that took me to your super awesome SmugMug slideshow.

          It is fun to read what other birders are up to. I like that your list has links to your photos. I was thinking of making a list of my bird sightings one of these days. I know of so many more birds now than I did last year! It is neat that your whole family is involved in spotting new birds. New birds are pretty exciting!


          1. I would love to see your list! Mine has probably a gajillion edits as I work to make it an all-in-one photo and post page for the year I can always go back to and compare. I visit it often. Be sure to let me know if you create a page with a comment. Readers aren’t notified as with posts or comments. I hope you do it!

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