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Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a Tale

Article, story, and photos by Charly Mann

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is second only to the hummingbird as the smallest bird in North America. They are about 3.75 inches long and weigh about 1/5 of an ounce.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet in Bartlesville, Oklahoma

The only time you will usually see the Ruby-crowned Kinglet in Oklahoma is during the winter. I have been fortunate to have one visit my backyard during January and February for the past three years.

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is primarily yellow-gray in color and has a white wing bar on the top of their wing and black wing bars below those. Males have a red crown patch that is usually only visible when they are excited. They have a ring of white around their eyes.

Male Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Male Ruby-crowned Kinglet showing his red crowned patch 

Ruby-crowned Kinglets, despite their size, are very hardy birds that can survive in climates where the temperatures get as low as 30 below zero fahrenheit.

These birds eat flies, beetles, wasps, and insect eggs, and will eat berries and seeds in the winter.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets are among the most hyper birds I have ever seen. They are very active and rarely stay in one spot for more than a few seconds.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets can live as long as six years.

The Legend of the Ruby-crownded Kinglet

Female Ruby-crowned Kinglet
My backyard very smart and wise Ruby-crowned Kinglet

There is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet that lives in my backyard in the winter. Recently a large orange tabby cat caught this bird as he was eating seeds off the ground. The Kinglet begged the cat to release him, and promised to tell the cat three great secrets if he would let him go. The cat immediately released the bird. The bird flew up to a branch, a safe distance from the cat, and said, "Thank you for letting me live. The three great secrets are:  never believe all that you hear, never regret what you have lost, and never throw away anything that is worth keeping." The cat said that he already knew these secrets, and that he should not have let him go. My Ruby-cowned kinglet replied that if the cat had really known these secrets he never would have let him go.



Erin Turner      2:34 PM Sat 7/27/2013

Love this web site the the pictures are fantastic. Awesome article on the mating ritual of the Painted bunting.

Joe Verica      6:37 PM Thu 3/7/2013

The second photo is not a Kinglet. Looks like an Orange-crowned Warbler.

giovanna      1:32 PM Mon 2/25/2013

such an informational website it made me animal report so easy. Great pictures too the picture with the ruby crowned kinglet showing its beautiful purple feathers was my favorite


Ken Burton      10:33 PM Wed 11/30/2011

The bottom photo is of an Orange-crowned Warbler.

Andrea Rosney      2:53 PM Fri 2/4/2011

Great picture! I loved the story. Thanks for writing this blog. I love it!

Uplifting Visions
a guide to happiness, good health, and success
Charly Mann in a Hawaiian shirt
by Charly Mann

From the age of seven I have been enchanted with the idea of living happily ever after, and have made it a life quest to find that answer. I have spoken to hundreds of people – usually older and wiser than me, and read countless books and articles on the subject. In my website Uplifting Visions I share what I consider the best insights I have learned about achieving happiness in life.

Oklahoma Birds Listed by Color

House Finch - male (carpodacus mexicanus)
Purple Finch - male (carpodacus purpureus)
Northern Cardinal - male (cardinalis cardinalis)
Painted Bunting - male (passerina ciris)
Summer Tanager - male (piranga rubra)

Baltimore Oriole - male (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - male (icterus spurius)

Yellow Warbler (dendroica petechia )
Baltimore Oriole - female (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - female (icterus spurius)
Summer Tanager - female (piranga rubra)
Yellow Goldfinch - male (carduelis tristis)
Western Kingbird (tyrannus verticalis)
Eastern Meadowlark (sturnella magna)

Malard - male (anas platyrhynchos)
Dark-eyed Junco - female (junco hyemalis)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (archilochus colubris)
Painted Bunting - female (passerina ciris)
Green Heron (butorides virescens)

Barn Swallow (hirundo rustica)
Belted Kingfisher (ceryle alcyon)
Blue Jay (cyanocitta cristata)
Blue Grosbeak - male (guiraca caerulea)
Eastern Bluebird (sailia sialis)
Indigo Bunting - male (passerina cyanea)
Purple Martin - male (progne subis)

Great Blue Heron (ardea herodias)
Carolina Chickadee (poecile carolinensis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (sitta canadensis)
Grey Catbird (dumetella carolinensis)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (regulus calendula)
Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher (tyrannus forficatus)
White-breasted Nuthatch (sitta carolinensis)
Tufted Titmouse (baelophus bicolor)
American Robin (turdus migratorius)
Northern Mockingbird (mimus polyglottos)
Mississippi Kite (ictinia mississippiensis)
Dickcissel (spiza americana)

American Crow (corvus brachyrhynchos)
Brown-headed Cowbird - male (molothrus ater)
European Starling (sturnus vulgaris)
Common Grackle (quiscalus quiscula)
Red-winged Blackbird - male (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Towhee (pipilo maculatus)
Turkey Vulture (cathartes aura)

Black & White
American Bald Eagle (haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Black-billed Magpie (pica hudsonia)
Downey Woodpecker (picoides pubescens)
Red-Bellied Woodpecker (melanerpes carolinus)
Purple Martin - female (progne subis)
Eastern Kingbird (tyrannus tyrannus)
Dark-eyed Junco - male (junco hyemalis)
Loggerhead Shrike (lanius ludovicianus)

American Kestrel (falco sparverius)
Blue Grosbeak - female (guiraca caerulea)
Brown-headed Cowbird - female (molothrus ater)
Brown Thrasher (toxostoma rufum)
Common Nighthawk (chordeiles minor)
Carolina Wren (thryothorus ludovicianus)
Cedar Waxwing (bombycilla cedrorum)
Greater Roadrunner (geococcyx californianus)
Killdeer (charadrius vociferus)
Northern Bobwhite (colinus virginianus)
Red-tailed Hawk (buteo jamaicensis)
Cliff Swallow (petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
Horned Lark (eremophila alpestris)
House Finch - female (carpodacus mexicanus)
Northern Flicker (colaptes auratus)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (coccyzus americanus)
Mourning Dove (zenaida macroura)
Malard - female (anas platyrhynchos)
Purple Finch - female (carpodacus purpureus)
House Sparrow (passer domesticus)
Indigo Bunting - female (passerina cyanea)
Red-winged Blackbird - female (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Sandpiper (actitis macularia)
Upland Sandpiper (bartramia longicauda)
Northern Cardinal - female (cardinalis cardinalis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Yellow Goldfinch - female (carduelis tristis)
Canada Goose (branta canadensis)

Wild Birds of Northeast OK

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