Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Golden-crowned Queenlet

Wednesday, December 6, 2006
What's the old adage about never leave the house without your binoculars or camera, for if you do, something amazing will appear and you'll regret your thoughtlessness? Well it's still true.

I walked out our 1/4-mile-long driveway to get the mail and paper on Saturday morning. I had my binocs and my pocket digital camera, but not the new super-duper Canon. Halfway out the drive I noticed a small songbird flying directly toward me. It was a golden-crowned kinglet, a female, and she flitted and swooped so close to my face that I flinched. She landed on a pine bough four inches from my nose and began foraging and hover-gleaning. She was so close I could smell the aphid eggs on her breath (they smell like baked chicken).

Yes, I immediately regretted not having the good camera along. So I did what I could and snapped a few frames of her with my small Canon Powershot as she flitted among the branches. The image above is the best one. If you squint your eyes just right, you can see a tiny piece of her golden crown.

She spent a few minutes flit-fluttering all around me, then headed for the deeper woods. I consider encounters like this one to be visits from woodland sprites. They are bringing us messages we rarely understand.


On December 6, 2006 at 11:45 AM Rondeau Ric said...

Close encounters of the avian kind.

On December 6, 2006 at 9:34 PM KViz said...

Does aphid-egg bird breath really smell like baked chicken??

On December 6, 2006 at 9:36 PM Endment said...

Great story - We have Golden-crowned Kinglets as occasional visitors - I spend hours trying to capture a photo... Having my camera in my hand hasn't been enough to allow to get much beside a bouncing twig or a blur of feathers :)

On December 6, 2006 at 10:34 PM Susan Gets Native said...

Bill, you must glue that new camera to your face.

On December 7, 2006 at 7:13 AM KatDoc said...

How in the world did you get any kind of photo of a kinglet? When I see them, I can barely get my bins focused on them. I can't imagine getting a photo, especially with that annoying delay between pressing the shutter button and capturing the digital image.

Such tiny dynamos, kinglets amaze me. However can they survive cold weather?