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home : columns : columns November 20, 2017


10/24/2017 1:16:00 PM
Sisters Country birds
photo by Douglas Beall
+ click to enlarge
photo by Douglas Beall

By Douglas Beall


As the season begins to take on its winter cloak, tiny twitters can be heard high in our forests. Most likely these songs are the communal sounds of the golden-crowned kinglet (Regulas satrapa). A tiny warbler-sized bird weighing in at four to eight grams and three to four inches long, they are able to withstand temperatures down to -40º F.

They build their nest within a spruce, fir, cottonwood or hemlock forest up to 60 feet high where they raise two broods. The male will pick a territory that he will defend, and when agitated will flare his feathers to display a red crest. One day after the first fledglings leave the nest the female golden-crowned begins laying eggs for the next brood. The male will feed sometimes up to nine nestlings and the mother during the nesting period. Their diet includes many insects including grasshoppers, lice, mosquitoes, spiders and mites; during the winter they will consume some seeds.

Unique to the golden-crowned kinglet is that each nostril is covered by a tiny feather. A group of kinglets is called a "dynasty," a "court," a "princedom" or a "castle" of kinglets. To see more images visit http://abirdsingsbecauseithasasong.com/recent-journeys.









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