Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mighty mite

The ruby-crowned kinglets are migrating back through Fairbanks. They're buzzing through the treetops like bees, always on the move. Anna spotted this guy on a gravel road. His death is a mystery; a car didn't hit him and his body was still somewhat warm when she picked him up (love that she's not afraid to pick up something for fear of cooties). Kinglets are one of our favorite birds in the springtime; such a big voice for such a tiny bird.

Kinglets are the smallest birds to travel through these parts. This guy is a full-grown adult and I can hide him in my hand. There is no sensation of weight when holding him. It's a bit sad he's not joining his buddies in Mexico for the winter, but survival is a tough gig; a majority of fledgling songbirds don't even make it as far as this guy did. Still, it's cool to think of these tiny creatures now making their way southward. Over the Alaska Range. Smelling the ocean at first glimpse of the Gulf of Alaska. Skirting the coast and picking bugs from rainforest Sitka spruce. To the paradise of British Columbia. Then maybe cutting overland and again seeing the green spheres of circle-pivot irrigation. Feeling the warm, dry air of the desert. Then, after coming to a stop in Baja, eating the first subtropical mosquito after a summer of arctic ones.

eye of the kinglet

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