Ruby-crowned Kinglet

These thumb-sized, solitary, high-energy visitors to our area aren’t easy to spot or track: they’re always on the go. In their search for tiny bugs, they flit from branch to branch, often hanging upside down to get that last aphid out of a flower with a short, needle-like beak. The male has a red topknot that he keeps flat to his head until another bird approaches, at which point he raises it in warning. It’s a little comical to think he’s really going to scare anyone off, but apparently it works. Look for the RCKI in Winter — this diminutive dynamo spends the Summer as far away as Northern Alaska.