Little King

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)

10 thoughts on “Little King

  1. On another migration note, I was at a concert at Station Square last night and saw many monarch butterflies flying overhead. Do they use the Monongahela River as a navigation tool? They seemed to be flying along the river.

  2. Ji-dit…mine showed up earlier this week….love in the spring before they leave their really, really long singing song for such a little bird…

    SUNSHINE is out…watch your flowers for monarchs(and other butterflies)…just tagged 3 and at least 7 more were in the yard on the flowers…esp asters and goldenrods….if you see a monarch roost, can you let me know? They do follow rivers, roads and powerlines…should be a good week to tag finally!!!

  3. Marcy as I am sitting here reading these responses I can also see a Monarch butterfly on some goldenrod in my yard, went to check and do believe it is a female. I live straight down RT 48 from Monroeville in North Versailles. I also saw 3 Monarchs yesterday.

  4. We saw 4-5 Monarchs heading SW today as we were weeding out in prep for winter. Our yard is just below a hill, so they overflew at just above roof height (ranch-style house, one floor), and didn’t stop for the wildflowers, zinnias, mums, and few remaining geraniums! Quite a few Cabbages did though, and some still seemed amorous! Or were they territorial? “Get away from that little yellow flower! It’s mine!”

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