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Long Live the Kinglets!
By Kyle Carlsen
Assistant Editor | Bird Watcher's Digest
Just about every region in North America has kinglets at some point in the year. These tiny fireballs of energy rush about the forest like it's a race and there's no room for someone in second place, flicking their wings, hovering at the tips of branches, and darting out to catch insects in midair. Because they are constantly in motion, getting a long look at a kinglet is sometimes difficult. The easiest time to watch kinglets is during migration and in winter, when they are widespread and tend to forage closer to eye level. How much do you know about these frenzied foragers? Here's a quiz to find out.
How many kinglet species exist in North America?
A typical kinglet clutch contains how many eggs?
a) Exactly two
b) Three to five
c) Seven to eleven
d) More than twelve
What do kinglets eat?
a) Mostly insects
b) Mostly seeds
c) Mostly fruit
d) Burger King
The name for the kinglet family, Regulidae, is derived from the Latin word regulus, meaning what?
Which of these Old World species is most closely related to our North American kinglets?
The breeding range of which kinglet extends north to Alaska?
a) Golden-crowned kinglet
b) Ruby-crowned kinglet
c) Both kinglets
d) Neither kinglet
Which of these is not true of both ruby-crowned and golden-crowned kinglets?
a) Both have colorful crowns
b) Both nervously flick their wings
c) Both have striped faces
d) Both have small bills
Editor | Bird Watcher's Digest
Wintertime, and the livin' ain't easy. Birds are hungry, and the snow's piling high. We all know by now that birds can survive without our help in the winter. Some ornithologists have even suggested that bird feeding is more beneficial to us (humans) than it is to the birds. Be that as it may, studies have shown that birds with access to bird feeders in winter survive at a higher rate than birds without access to feeders. The difference between the haves and the have-nots is not huge, but it's there. Feeding birds in winter, if done right, is a good thing for the birds (and for us, too).
10. Make sure seed is accessible and dry. Hopper or tube feeders are good at protecting seed from wet weather, and they dole out food as it is eaten. Sweep snow off of platform feeders, or clear a place on the ground where you can scatter seed for ground-feeding species such as sparrows, towhees, juncos, and doves. If snow build-up is a problem...
9. Make a windbreak. A few winters ago we had a week of dry, blowing snow. The drifts were five feet deep, almost burying the feeders. We couldn't possibly keep the feeders free of snow, so we switched tactics. We made a windbreak using our old Christmas tree, the remains of our brush pile, and two large pieces of plywood. We placed the tree on its side near the brush pile. The plywood pieces were wedged into the snow and the brush pile to serve as walls that drastically reduced the wind. Behind this contraption (on the sheltered side) we cleared the snow from a patch of ground and scattered seed. The birds swarmed to our new, wind-free spot. Which brings me to another good idea...
8. Keep extra feeders for use in bad weather. We keep an extra-large-capacity tube feeder in the garage for use when nasty weather comes. It not only gives the birds another place to eat, which means more birds can eat at one time, but it also cuts down on our trips outside for refilling the feeders. Other extras to consider having: peanut feeder, suet feeder, satellite feeder (for the small birds to use), and a hopper feeder.