Species Profile: Golden-crowned Kinglet

This month’s Wetlands Photo of the Month features a Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) staring curiously into the camera. The photographer, Brian Hampson (who is a back-to-back winner), demonstrates an impressive amount of patience as these birds are highly active and sometimes hard to photograph. Nonetheless, Brian’s image captures an upbeat side to these elusive birds.

Although these birds are often found in coniferous forests, they use wetlands such as swamps for foraging and feeding grounds. Their diets are mainly composed of insects and spiders and they will hover over leaves or pine needles until their prey emerges from hiding. Even though these birds are bold hunters, they’re usually concealed within dense trees. If you’d like to try and see one, they are very responsive to “pishing” – a birding technique used to attract small birds in order to better view them. Another way is to listen for their loud and high-pitched calls, usually in a series of 14 “tsee” notes (listen here). Regardless of your technique, it’s always rewarding to catch a glimpse of these quirky little songbirds.

As shown in this photo, these birds are full of personality. Here are few interesting facts to add to your repertoire of random knowledge:

  • Adults are monogamous and often sing together when making their nests.
  • Golden-crowned Kinglets often nest in the tops of conifers like balsam fir, white spruce, and black spruce.
  • Males are territorial against many other bird species, such as Blackburnian Warblers, Pine Siskins, and Black-capped Chickadees.
  • Despite being small, these birds are tough. They winter in areas with nighttime temperatures of below  -40 degrees Celsius.

Thank you to Brian Hampson for all of your stunning contributions! If you like to view more of his skilled photography, click here. Remember to submit your BC wetlands photos to our Flickr group (found here) for your chance to be our March Photo of the Month! As well, follow us on Twitter (@BCWFWetlands) and like us on Facebook to stay updated on BC wetlands news. 

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