Today while I was doing my daily loop ’round the lake out back–I’m trying to do between 2 and 2.5 miles a day, while I’ve got the luxury of a greenway twenty yards away–I saw a ruby-crowned kinglet.

Now, this isn’t extraordinary–they’re very common birds and all they take is a sharp eye. Once you learn to recognize them, they’re an easy bird–they’re tiny, energetic, with big dark eyes and a white eye ring around them. They resemble nothing so much as teenage goldfinches on their way to a KISS concert.

And you almost never see the ruby-crown. The males have what is generally a wee spot of medium red on the back of their noggins, but you have to look pretty closely–it’s not a particularly useful fieldmark unless the bird’s sitting practically on your foot. You’re better off with wing-bars and the eyering.

But this morning, for whatever reason, this little male had his red crown fluffed out wildly. It looked like he was wearing a tiny, fluffy red beret.

I’ve never actually seen that before, and it was pretty cool. This drab little bird was suddenly transformed.

So that was neat.

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