Earth Journal

Vol. 8, No. 6
February 10-16, 2000
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at by Gary PendletonGolden-Crowned Kinglet and Beech Tree
by Gary Pendleton

The golden-crowned kinglet is a very small bird that breeds in the north woods and the higher elevations of the Appalachian Mountains. In the winter, it can be found locally in wooded areas where it actively flits and hovers in the higher branches foraging for food. It eats both insects and seeds and drinks tree sap.

Its plumage is a pleasant combination of olive green and pale yellow. The golden feathers of the crown border a center spot of ruby red in the male. When the male kinglet is ready to breed — or when it is otherwise agitated — it may signal its disposition by erecting the red feathers.

Beech trees have long, pointed buds that lengthen as spring approaches. Throughout winter, leaves persist on young trees and the lower branches of mature trees, their golden color fading as the days grow longer.

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