Guest post by Sandy DeSimone, Director – Research and Education, Audubon California Starr Ranch Sanctuary
Ruby-crowned Kinglets have arrived in Orange County! One of our smallest songbirds, kinglets breed in the forests of Alaska and Canada and the western U.S. mountains. They spend winters across the southern US, Mexico, and Central America. Watch for these tiny birds in the trees, constantly flicking their wings. Male kinglets will sometimes sing in the winter—their song sounds like a typewriter typing (you show your age if you know that sound!). Listen to the “chatter calls” here. Males have a hidden bright red crown they show when angry or excited, and thus the name “kinglet.” The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is one of many species that spends its winters in SoCal, and migrates elsewhere to breed. Keep an eye out in your backyard for all of the migrant songbirds that should be settling in for the winter about now, such as Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-crowned Sparrows, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets!
Photo courtesy of volunteer bird bander, Tom Sheffield.