Monday, November 4, 2013

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

This past Saturday, (November 2, 2013) some members from the Ohio University Wildlife Club traveled to the Earl H. Barnhart Buzzards Roost Nature Preserve (what a name!) outside of Chillicothe in Ross County. The goal was simple, visit the Northern Saw-Whet banding station there that was run by Dr. Kelly Williams in hopes of seeing some of these adorable little owls.

Well, long story short, we netted no owls in over four hours of waiting. It was a disappointment, but the rest of the trip was great. For those of you interested in the Saw-Whet aspect (which is incredibly interesting), please check out these posts on Jim McCormac's blog: Post 1, Post 2, and Post 3.

We arrived a few hours before sundown to participate in some passerine (songbird) banding, just in case we didn't get in owls (so thankfully we got to see some birds!) They banded a Downy Woodpecker, a Yellow-Rumped Warbler, and a Golden-Crowned Kinglet. The kinglet is the star of this post.

This tiny guy is a male Golden-Crowned Kinglet. I wanted to include this photo to give you guys a scale of just how small this species is. Now, they might be small, but they are definitely a packet of energy. In Ohio, Golden-Crowned Kinglet migration peaks in April and October, but some stick around all winter. They breed in Canada and western montane ecosystems of the US.

Here's a close up that shows the namesake golden-crown. In the breeding season, this tiny songbird actively forages for insects high-up in the canopy of coniferous forests; however, in winter this species can be found in a variety of deciduous and coniferous forests.

Dr. Williams, while holding this kinglet in the "photographer's grip," soon discovered that by slowly petting his back, he would raise his crest. Normally, they only raise their crest for intimidation and the likes, so I'm not sure if this one was raising it out of anger or fear, or if he was raising it because he simply liked the petting. He wasn't putting up a fight really, so who knows why he raised his crest exactly. Regardless, it was really awesome to see because one normally doesn't get to witness this in the wild.

That's all for this post! Keep tuned; there's a lot of posts I have backed up that will hopefully be published soon!

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