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Ruby-crowned Kinglet © Brian Small

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet … a tiny avian jewel with a scarlet patch on its crown (usually not visible) … is one of my favorite birds, primarily because of it’s sprightly cheerful song — a series of very high notes followed by a rambling jumble and ending with a silly-sounding chant:

Ruby-crowned Kinglet sonogram

Ruby-crowned Kinglet – two songs each of two different males (from Quebec and northern New York). © Lang Elliott.

Although breeding in the Canadian northwoods, migrating ruby-crowneds are quite vocal, the males singing excitedly as they flit from limb to limb in search of insects in the forest understory or among shrubs and small trees in hedgerows, along creeks, or at forest edge. They may even be heard sounding off from thick vegetation in city parks, and sometimes along suburban sidewalks!

Today I heard my first kinglet of the year. I went walking barefoot in a small park next to a gurgling brook (near downtown Ithaca, NY), when a kinglet’s sprightly notes fell gently upon my ears:

A Taste of Spring, by Lang Elliott

barefoot in the park at dawn
grass beneath my feet so green
forsythia is blooming strong
daffodils are singing free

what was that? across the street?
among the trees along the creek?

a kinglet’s rambling, silly song?
here downtown? might i be wrong?

o frabjous day, he sings again!
with kinglet doth my day begin!

how joyous is this taste of spring
elixir to my wintered heart
the kinglet’s wanton will to sing
enlivens flowers freshly start

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (head crop) by Brian Small

Lang Elliott reciting the above poem.

Frabjous day indeed! A Ruby-crowned Kinglet’s songs lift my spirits and send me smiling into the day!

Naturally Yours,
Lang's signature

p.s. thank you Brian Small for the use of your photos!


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