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5098Re:Golden-crowned Kinglet

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  • Steve Bouricius
    Nov 3, 2010
    Hi Coen, and Terry,

    Golden-crowned Kinglets can be very difficult to photograph. Last
    winter we were lucky to have a male-female pair coming regularly to the
    kitchen window suet feeder at our Peaceful Valley cabin. I think GCKI
    have been breeding on the property (at 8500 ft.) for the past several
    years but this was the first we'd seen them come to a feeder. Even from
    as close as two feet away I didn't manage to get a good photo because
    the birds are constantly in motion. Worse, our window glass is fogged
    and the birds were very wary with an open window.

    I want to clarify that the male does have a yellow crown just as the
    female does and that the orange-red feathers of the male's crest can be
    obscure and overlooked just as it can be in male Ruby-crowned Kinglets.
    The crest is variably raised in alarm, or lowered depending on the level
    of alertness. The orange-red crest can appear as a spot to a stripe
    that divides the yellow crown from the back to the center. The number
    of red feathers apparently varies between individuals and probably by
    age. I've attached some photos that show variations in one bird with
    different postures and alert levels.

    Btw, the birds in the photo are using elk suet. I've found that birds
    much prefer fats from deer, elk and antelope over that from domestic
    livestock. A few minutes ago we had a Red-tailed Hawk on our tray
    feeder picking up scraps of elk.

    Steve Bouricius
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