Kinglets, ruby-crowned and golden-crowned have been the most exciting migrants in our neighborhood the past several days. With patience, they have offered photo opportunities. Both sexes of both species appear very similar. Examining photos in detail on a computer screen is easier, most of the time, than trying to make an assessment with binoculars while the birds rapidly flit from branch to branch.
Male ruby-crowned kinglets have the red stripe atop their head. It is barely visible except when the bird is courting, and then it is very visible. Female ruby-crowned kinglets have no head stripe.
Both sexes of golden-crowned kinglets have a bright streak of yellow on their heads. Males have a yellow streak bordered by red and orange. I believe a couple of these photos show that, but it’s subtle. Females have simply the yellow stripe.
Both species are early migrants, beginning to arrive here in March, departing to northern nesting grounds in early May. They nest in northern and northeastern Minnesota and throughout northern Canada.
This is not how ruby-crowned kinglets usually look.
Subtle is more usual.
Female ruby-crowned kinglets show no red head stripe.
These are males, I think, above and below, the yellow stripe very delicately
bordered by orange and red.
This is a female golden-crowned kinglet, no red/orange on the crown.