Oct 05 2011
As predicted, the cold, oppressive rain that lingered for four days finally moved east yesterday afternoon. The sun came out and so did all the migrants who’d been waylaid by the weather. The world was beautiful again.
On my walk home through Schenley Park I found many small flocks of warblers foraging in the trees. Best of all, the golden-crowned and ruby-crowned kinglets were with them.
Our kinglets are Old-World Warblers similar to the goldcrest of Eurasia. Their genus name, Regulus, and their English name, kinglet, refer to the crown of golden or ruby-colored feathers they raise when aroused or annoyed.
Neither bird breeds in Pittsburgh so their arrival marks a seasonal change.
The golden-crowned kinglet doesn’t travel far. He breeds in the southern tier of Canada, in northern New England, in Appalachia and in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania. He spends the winter in the continental U.S., including Pittsburgh, so he’s here to stay for a while.
The ruby-crowned kinglet is a twice-a-year treat. He breeds in the Rocky Mountains and in Canada all the way north to the edge of the Arctic and spends the winter in the southern U.S.
His winter range curls up the East Coast enough to include southeastern Pennsylvania. But here he visits for only a short time where I greet him with joy in April and October.
Welcome back, Little King.
(photo of a ruby-crowned kinglet by Steve Gosser)