Vol. 2, No. 3 – The Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897


ASKETT says that the Kinglets come at a certain early spring date before the leaves are fully expanded, and flutter upward, while they take something from beneath the budding leaf or twig. It is a peculiar motion, which with their restless ways, olive-green color, and small size, readily distinguishes them. It is rare that one is still. “But the ruby-crowned sometimes favors me with a song, and as it is a little long, he usually is quiet till done. It is one of the sweetest little lullaby-like strains. One day I saw him in the rose bush just near voluntarily expand the plumage of his crown and show the brilliant golden-ruby feathers beneath. Usually they are mostly concealed. It was a rare treat, and visible to me only because of my rather exalted view. He generally reserves this display for his mate, but he was here among some Snow-birds and Tree Sparrows, and seemed to be trying to make these plain folks envious of the pretty feathers in his hat.”

These wonderfully dainty little birds are of great value to the farmer and the fruit grower, doing good work among all classes of fruit trees by killing grubs and larvae. In spite of their value in this respect, they have been, in common with many other attractive birds, recklessly killed for millinery purposes.

It is curious to see these busy wanderers, who are always cheery and sociable, come prying and peering about the fruit trees, examining every little nook of possible concealment with the greatest interest. They do not stay long after November, and return again in April.

The nest of this Kinglet is rarely seen. It is of matted hair, feathers, moss, etc., bulky, round, and partly hanging. Until recently the eggs were unknown. They are of a dirty cream-white, deepening at larger end to form a ring, some specimens being spotted.

Mr. Nehrling, who has heard this Kinglet sing in central Wisconsin and northern Illinois, speaks of the “power, purity, and volume of the notes, their faultless modulation and long continuance,” and Dr. Elliott Coues says of it: “The Kinglet’s exquisite vocalization defies description.” Dr. Brewer says that its song is clear, resonant, and high, a prolonged series, varying from the lowest tones to the highest, and terminating with the latter. It may be heard at quite a distance, and in some respects bears more resemblance to the song of the English Sky-lark than to that of the Canary, to which Mr. Audubon compares it.

From col. F. M. Woodruff. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.


RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET.Regulus calendula.

Range—Entire North America, wintering in the South and in northern Central America.

Nest—Very rare, only six known; of hair, feathers, moss, etc., bulky, globular, and partly pensile.

Eggs—Five to nine; dull whitish or pale puffy, speckled.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) by BirdingPix

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) by BirdingPix

Lee’s Addition:

He will bless those who fear the LORD, Both small and great. (Psalms 115:13 NKJV)

Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” (Revelation 19:5 NKJV)

“Kinglets are among the smallest of all passerines, ranging in size from 3.2–4.3 in (8–11 cm) and weighing 0.2–0.3 oz (6–8 g); the sexes are the same size. They have medium-length wings and tails, and small needle-like bills. The plumage is overall grey-green, offset by pale wingbars, and the tail tip is incised. Five species have a single stiff feather covering the nostrils, but in the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, this is replaced by several short, stiff bristles. Most kinglets have distinctive head markings, and the males possess a colourful crown patch. In the females, the crown is duller and yellower. The long feathers forming the central crown stripe can be erected; they are inconspicuous most of the time, but are used in courtship and territorial displays when the raised crest is very striking.” (Kinglet-Wikipedia)

“The Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) is a very small passerine bird found throughout North America. The bird has olive-green plumage with two white wing bars and a white eye-ring. Males have a red crown patch, which is usually concealed. The sexes are identical (apart from the crown), and juveniles are similar in plumage to adults. It is one of the smallest songbirds in North America.

The kinglet is migratory, and its range extends from northwest Canada and Alaska south to Mexico. Its breeding habitat is spruce-fir forests in the northern, mountainous, United States and Canada. The Ruby-crowned Kinglet builds a cup-shaped nest, which may be pensile or placed on a tree branch and is often hidden. It lays up to 12 eggs, and has the largest clutch of any North American passerine for its size. It is mainly insectivorous, but also eats fruits and seeds.” (Ruby-crowned Kinglet-Wikipedia)


Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for September 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Mourning Dove

The Previous Article – The Phoebe

Sharing The Gospel


Regulidae – Goldcrests, Kinglets

Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Wikipedia

Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Whatbird

Ruby-crowned Kinglet – IBC


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