For weeks, I have been eagerly awaiting the appearance of my first winter bird of the fall.  By that, I mean the migratory birds that winter in my backyard typically arrive well before winter actually begins.  Well, my wait is finally over as this week I spotted a ruby-crowned kinglet eating bird butter laced with peanuts.

       I find it interesting that, although the ruby-crowned kinglet is one of the last insectivorous birds to leave its northern breeding grounds, it was the first to arrive in my yard located in Middle Georgia.  I cannot help but wonder if the bird I saw will indeed winter here, or, was a migrant using my yard as a stopover to refuel before  moving on southward to its winter home is south Georgia or Florida.

       Since I never see more than one ruby-crowned kinglet at a time, I would like to know if only one of these tiny passerines establishes a territory in my yard each winter.  Since there is evidence that these small birds set up winter territories, perhaps more kinglets actually inhabit my three acres of land than I realize.  If such is the case, it could be possible that I host more than one ruby-crowned kinglet and the only one I see is the bird that claims the portion of the yard where my feeders are located.

       Overwhelmingly, when a ruby-crowned kinglet makes an appearance in my bird feeding area it dines on bird butter.  However, in one instance, I watched a kinglet sifting through white millet offered in a small feeder.

       If you would like to attempt to attract a ruby-crowned kinglet to your yard this winter, make sure suet or bird butter are on the menu of your backyard bird cafe.  Other foods known attract ruby-crowned kinglets are peanut butter, mixed seed, finely cracked nuts, peanut hearts, cornbread, and doughnuts.  They will even visit hummingbird feeders from time to time.

       I have never seen a ruby-crowned kinglet drink at my birdbath.  However, there are numerous reports of them doing so.

       If you are successful in attracting a ruby-crowned kinglet to your yard for the first time, you will quickly learn they are a joy to watch.  They are full of energy and are constantly on the move.  Some might even say they get tired just seeing them constantly flit about in search of food.



  1. Terry,
    I’ve always been intrigued by kinglets. They are constantly pecking at seemingly bare twigs and we always have peanut butter and suet for them and other birds. They are amongst the most nervous seeming birds you’ll see!
    I haven’t seen one yet but I never see but one at the time as you noted.
    I did see my first eastern phoebe last week. They always seem to enjoy mealworms and dive at the container to snatch one but never perch on the container.
    I saw a Monarch twice last week and still have a fair amount of zebra longwings. I believe I’ve seen more this season than ever. We have host plants so that helps,I suppose.
    We also are still seeing a female hummer daily of unknown species.
    I saw three yellow-bellied sapsuckers Friday and one again yesterday.
    Also saw a yellow throated warbler bathig about two weeks ago.

  2. William,

    You are well ahead of me with respect to seeing winter birds. As for butterflies, I have sighted them only 25 times this fall here at the house. With respect to zebra longwings, I don’t know of anybody north of the fall line has seen one this year–last year they were all about.

    As for the mealworms, I am going to add mealworms to my list of feeder items eaten by ruby-crowned kinglets.

    Once again, thanks for your informative comments.


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