Having spent the entire day power washing the house – probably the best to-do task you can ask for on a wicked humid day. In the flip side, I can safely say I’m totally exhausted. There is something to be said from a total body workout trying to hold rains over a firehose hell bent on ripping your skin off. I chose that over going for a run today to appease Linda who hasn’t let the incident go yet. We’ll make up that long run early tomorrow morning, but for now let’s take care of a little bird business.
That my friends is a new check in my Birding Life List. It was shot while birding with my brother Ron at Allerton Park earlier in the year. This one actually had me stumped. I was looking at all the Warblers and even the Vireos trying to identify a yellow bird with a nice white eye ring. No luck with those attempts so opted for some help! That assist came from Ron who was able to identify this bird – still not exactly sure how he did it, but his suggestion of a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet seems to match with all the described characteristics. That is with the exception of the actual ruby crown. The next shot kinda gives a little hint of on in the sun if you look close and let your imagination run a bit.
Hit the jump to read a bit more about this cute little bird
A little research confirmed that the crown isn’t always visible. They indicated that the best chance to see it is on an excited male specimen. So, based on that, the fact there isn’t a picture of it didn’t rule it out. A little close reading on Cornell also provides a hint although it would be helpful if they just came out and said the female doesn’t have the ruby crown marking (they simply refer to the male showing it infrequently). There is definitely no clues on the underside of the bird – all olive-green void of any hard markings.
The tipping point for me was the wing barring. If you look back a couple of shots you will see some very distinct white lines that are paired with a black line. If you look really close, you will see the bottom black bar has a notch out of it. That matches perfectly with the reference guides. Add in the heavy white eye ring and we have a winner. If you recall, I previously posted on another Kinglet variety – specifically the Golden-Crowned Kinglet (link here). Those pictures were awfully soft and these are definitely not my best work. Luckily we haven’t appended any new rules regarding quality (or my list would take a serious hit).
So my guess at the moment is this is actually a female. Here is a much better view of the back of the head. Not even a hint of red on this view. It also give a good perspective to the fact these birds really do not have a neck. The shot below attests to the fact they also have tiny tails. Reminds me of the gym days in college where everyone was spending all their time on their chests and arms neglecting their spindle like legs. (martial art guys are always assessing the legs of the opponent hehehe). Yeah, I’m talking about you Mr. No Neck Bird!
Just kidding .. they are still a cute little bird. Let’s check to see if there are some interesting facts on Cornell’s site about this bird – hopefully better than the last set. For a tiny bird they sure lay a lot of eggs – upwards of 12 .. eesh. You would think with that brood they would be a little more common. They also mention they are nervous birds with a habit of flicking their wings. Hey, I have a number of shots that show that behavior! For instance, this one.
Okay, now I am much more confident Ron has nailed this ID. The most interesting part of this find is that it doesn’t really show Illinois as a standard region. It basically cuts a band above for Summer and below for Winter. We must have lucked out and caught it during migration – SCORE! +1 to be exact. Oh now, time got away from me – crap only a few hours of sleep before my run – adios everyone!