Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Where Are the Ruby-crowned Kinglets?

It was a pleasant afternoon for a walk – after a very blustery, cold day yesterday – sunshine filtered by filmy, high cloud cover and temperatures in the mid 40s. Many American Robins are still scattered all through the neighborhood, almost everywhere. One Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tall pine, another sat on top of a utility pole overlooking the field and the highway. Most of the usual suspects were around – but two in particular were missing, and have been for several days.

I heard and saw no Ruby-crowned Kinglet – not one. This is unusual even for one day, and certainly for several days in a row. The stuttering chatter of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet is one of the most familiar sounds around our yard. There are several particular thickets or brushy spots throughout the neighborhood where I ordinarily can count on hearing or seeing one, and they are likely to turn up just about anywhere. But for the past several days I have not been able to find one.

Also, for several days now I have not heard or seen a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. This may be just chance or my not watching closely enough, because the Sapsuckers can be pretty elusive. But even in the areas where at least one or two have been fairly common earlier this season, I haven’t heard their mewing call or found one working on the trunk of a pecan.

I’m hoping that both of these observations will turn out to be just bad timing on my part, or just unusual days – and that both will turn up again soon.


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