The Golden Crowned Kinglet of the Pacific Northwest
The Golden Crowned Kinglet is one of our smaller coastal birds. This kinglet along with the ruby crowned kinglet are the only two species that can be seen on the coast and they are fairly common. They breed across the coniferous forests of the Island and across north America, including Alaska, the Pacific Northwest of the US and winter in the southern US and Central America.
The kinglet, despite their small size, survive and thrive even in temperatures that may dip to minus 20 c.
Side by side, the two species of North American kinglet are easy to distinguish. The Golden Crowned Kinglet has the bold black and white striped facial pattern and gold crown patch. The ruby crowned kinglet has a plain facial pattern, bold eye ring and a red crown patch that is often only visible when it is excited.
Except for the hummingbirds, the Golden Crowned Kinglet is one of the smallest of our native birds. It is up to 10 cm long with a wingspan of not more than 17 cm. They are a friendly and tame bird and often will accept being hand fed.
The golden crowned kinglet has a strong facial pattern of dark and white stripes, and a black bill. It is olive green above and a pale color below. The yellow on the flight and tail feathers is easily seen in the field. It is also easily distinguished by its crown patch, orange in the male and gold in the female. The wing has two whitish wing bars and yellow edging along the flight feathers.
Golden crowned kinglets prefer to nest in dense coniferous forests. The female builds a cup nest of moss, fine grasses and lichens in a conifer tree from 6 to 50 feet up. She will lay up to 10 eggs that are incubated by the female, the male will feed her while she sits on the nest. The eggs hatch in about two weeks. Both parents tend the young, who fledge in about 17 days.
Golden crowned kinglets are important predators on pest insects and their eggs, especially in coniferous forests. Insect foods consist of aphids, bark beetles, scale insects and other insects found in coniferous trees. Although their food consists primarily of insects, their diet also includes some tree sap.