I was building another cactus bed and a small bird about the size of a finch, but with a more round body, landed in the leafless Alexandrina Magnolia next to where I was working, I didn't have my camera and it wouldn't have helpd anyway as it hopped from branch to branch. But the distinguishing mark was a small circle of scarlet feathers on the very top of its head that were no longer than the rest of the feathers (I don't think the bird knows he is carrying a scarlet crown. It was absolutely brilliant in color and I have never seen anything like this and I work in my garden all the time. Any ideas anyone? Thanks, Xuling
The Bird Center responded to my email and said that it sounded like a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The internet photos look pretty similar except that the crown was flared and not flat to the head as I saw it, and not as brilliant in color. But that probably was the bird. Any other ideas? Xuling
I would go with a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The male will raise his crown when agitated or when attracting a mate. The behaviour sounds correct with its hopping about all over. Those fellows just will not hold still for anything.