|Guess what this bird is, provided, that is, that you can actually SEE the bird.|
Impressive, huh? There’s this guy named Corey who blogs at 10,000 Birds who apparently has a bird-immobilization ray gun. There’s no other explanation for the pictures of kinglets he gets. (I’ve considered the possibility that he has more skill and better equipment than me, as well. The ray gun theory may not conform to Occam’s Razor, but my ego still prefers that explanation.) You’ll find some of his pictures here and here.
I think my attraction to these birds is the continuity they’ve provided to our very eventful year. We last watched these birds in a boreal forest in Terra Nova National Park on the east coast of Newfoundland in June. They were cavorting with boreal chickadees (Poecile hudsonica) as we passed by. Returning to Michigan, I quit thinking about kinglets until a couple weeks ago when one jumped out in front of me at a local nature park. Lovers of chilly weather, they don’t tend to hang around here in the summer. Today I saw more than a dozen of them, selecting black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapilla) as their partners in crime here. I wonder if the kinglets that head to the far south hang out with Carolina chickadees (Poecile carolinensis)? They certainly seem to have a fondness for the Poecile.
Obviously the birds in Newfoundland don’t use a migration flyway that would bring them through Michigan. The kinglets of Newfoundland tend to stay year-round anyway. But still, I like to muse that I’m seeing the same birds I saw on the solstice in those boreal stands, just stopping by to say hello once again. Or perhaps to keep me company for the winter? The golden-crowned kinglet is considered the smallest bird (a fifth of an ounce!) to maintain normal body temperature (105F, 40C) routinely during freezing weather. Rather than entering a state of torpor, they huddle together in squirrel nests. The next time I fall asleep on a freezing winter night you know I’ll be picturing a tree cavity stuffed with toasty-warm kinglets.
*The title of this post is a reference to a song called "Donkey Riding" as performed by the Newfoundland band Great Big Sea. Get used to obscure references if you read this blog.