THE RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET.

BASKETT says that the Kinglets come at a certain early spring date before the leaves are fully expanded, and flutter upward, while they take something from beneath the budding leaf or twig. It is a peculiar motion, which with their restless ways, olive- green color, and small size, readily distinguishes them. It is rare that one is still. "But the ruby-crowned sometimes favors me with a song, and as it is a little long, he usually is quiet till done. It is one of the sweetest little lullaby-like strains. One day I saw him in the rose bush just near voluntarily expand the plumage of his crown and show the brilliant golden-ruby feathers beneath. Usually they are mostly concealed. It was a rare treat, and visible to me only because of my rather exalted view. He generally reserves this display for his mate, but he was here among some Snow-birds and Tree Sparrows, and seemed to be trying to make these plain folks envious of the pretty feathers in his hat."

These wonderfully dainty little birds are of great value to the farmer and the fruit grower, doing good work among all classes of fruit trees by killing grubs and larvae. In spite of their value in this respect, they have been, in common with many other attractive birds, recklessly killed for millinery purposes.

     

It is curious to see these busy wanderers, who are always cheery and sociable, come prying and peering about the fruit trees, examining every little nook of possible concealment with the greatest interest. They do not stay long after November, and return again in April.

The nest of this Kinglet is rarely seen. It is of matted hair, feathers, moss, etc., bulky, round, and partly hanging. Until recently the eggs were unknown. They are of a dirty cream-white, deepening at larger end to form a ring, some specimens being spotted.

Mr. Nehrling, who has heard this Kinglet sing in central Wisconsin and northern Illinois, speaks of the "power, purity, and volume of the notes, their faultless modulation and long continuance," and Dr. Elliott Coues says of it: "The Kinglet's exquisite vocalization defies description." Dr. Brewer says that its song is clear, resonant, and high, a prolonged series, varying from the lowest tones to the highest, and terminating with the latter. It may be heard at quite a distance, and in some respects bears more resemblance to the song of the English Sky-lark than to that of the Canary, to which Mr. Audubon compares it.


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