Earlier this week I ran into a flock of close to twenty golden-crowned kinglets (Regulus satrapa) feeding in the hedgerow alongside a country road in rural Merville. With the thick fog of the last couple days, it seems that birds are hunkering down and feeding in large mixed flocks. There were a few song sparrows skulking on the edges of the group and a brash Bewick’s wren scolding from the safety of the dense thicket.
Golden-crowned kinglets are a ubiquitous west coast songbird. They’re active feeders and often hover while gleaning insects from the branches of shrubs and trees. They’re also regular visitors to backyard feeders, much more common than the ruby-crowned kinglet. Put up a suet feeder and sooner or later you’ll find them in your backyard.
It was good to spend some time watching the flock working the hedgerow, a welcome splash of colour and activity during an otherwise dull and quiet foggy day. Kinglets respond well to “pishing” and often approach quite closely. I was able to get nice looks at the bright yellow crown bordered by black and the thin white wingbars on the olive green wings. This close it was also possible to see the yellow “sock feet” which contrast with the black legs.
As migration starts to wind down, birds are setting up shop for the coming winter. Christmas Bird Counts are just around the corner so it’s time to start renewing acquaintances with Vancouver Island’s winter residents!