It’s called a Ruby-crowned kinglet because it has a crown of royal red feathers, but it’s so tiny, it must be called a king-let. Only half the size and weight of a Black-capped Chickadee, the 6 gram (about the weight of a nickel) Ruby-crowned Kinglet is one of the most energetic foragers, constantly on the move from limb to limb, barely pausing to consider its next hop.
They have been migrating through Minnesota for the last couple of weeks on their way to breed in the coniferous forests in Canada. Females weave a globular, domed nest of tiny sticks and branches, suspended from a conifer branch, and then lay an amazing number (as many as 12) of eggs in the cup. How do they feed that many youngsters on the tiny spiders and insects they find by gleaning tree bark??
More amazing yet is how these tiny dynamos manage to stay warm during sub-freezing temperatures they encounter during their migration north or south, and over their wintering range in the southern U.S. Apparently they can tolerate overnight temperatures in the negative teens by becoming slightly hypothermic (lowered body temperature), but don’t huddle with a friend as the Golden-crowned Kinglets are apt to do.