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 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 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
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.