On a cool January morning I was on photo safari at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge when I spotted the tiny bird in the picture above. I was struck by its ability to hang upside down by its feet while it busily prospected the cracks and crevices of the tree bark for insects. As I later learned, I was photographing Regulus satrapa, the Golden-crowned Kinglet.
This little bird is a female because of the yellow stripe on the top of her head. If she were a male it would be more orangish golden in color. These little birds and the other Kinglets or Crests have been placed in their own family, Regulidae, because their genetics make them distinctly different than the Sylvidae or Old World Warblers where they were formerly placed.
I included this picture because it makes me laugh and demonstrates how these little birds just hang by their feet and ignore gravity while they hunt for food. Normally these birds are found throughout the boreal and montane conifer forests of North America and Eurasia where they breed. They come south from these forests to the deciduous forests and swampy bottom lands in Texas and the southern U. S. for the winter. You can even see them in towns and cities where there are enough trees.
This picture shows our little friend with her wings extended and illustrating the black and white wing bars and yellow head stripe. She had just landed on the tree branch when I took this picture.