Tuesday, 17 March 2015

B.O.T.D. Golden-Crowned Kinglet

Golden-Crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)

What is there about evergreens this bird can't ignore? Perhaps it's the insects - the aphids, scales, and budworms - that feed golden-crowned kinglets both summer and winter. Or perhaps it's the shelter that keeps cold winds at bay. Whatever the allure, golden-crowned kinglets and evergreen stands are inextricably linked. Nesting among them in springtime northern forests, flitting through hem on wintering grounds to the south, these acrobatic songbirds never seem to be far away from needles and pine cones - be they natural or planted by humans.

In the wilds of Quebec, a spruce bog may attract kinglet pairs, while farther south, in the northern United States, kinglets are drawn to groves originally planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Formed by the federal government to provide jobs during the Depression, the CCC planted thousands of price and pine seedlings across the northeastern states. As these young trees matured, golden-crowned kinglets flocked to the dense stands they created, and the bird's population burgeoned. When alter the trees were harvested, the kinglets moved on, seeking native stands or other, younger, plantations that timber growers had planted. Adapting to an altered landscape, their numbers ebbing and flowing with the growth and harvest of evergreens, golden-crowned kinglets have tailored their lives to the human presence.