[Bristol-Birds] Disjunct kinglet nest in Smyth Co., VA

  • From: Wallace Coffey <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: 1-A Bristol-Birds <bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 19:10:17 -0300

An active nest of the Golden-crowned Kinglet was found in Smyth County, VA
today (6/11) in a lower elevation plantation of Red Spruce trees.  The
breeding adults are disjunct from the local population of the species found
in the  spruce-fir belt of Whitetop Mountain (6.5 miles SW)  and Mount
Rogers (4.0 miles S).

Ron Harrington and Wallace Coffey found the kinglets and their nest in the
headwaters of Hurricane Creek on the lower slope of Iron Mountain at
elevation 3,500 feet.  Hurricane Creek is a second level tributary of the
South Fork Holston River in the Tennessee River drainage.

The nest contained at least 6 young.  It is suspended from a low branch of
the spruce about 7 feet above the ground.  It is 40 inches from the tip of
the branch.  The nestlings are advanced with eyes open.

The parent birds were observed carrying food to the nest.

This Red Spruce plantation features about 18 trees, nostly about 100 feet
tall.  They are planted in alternating position in two rows adjacent to
Forest Service Route 84.  The nest is 30 feet from the road and on the edge
of an apparent wildlife clearing.  The trees must be 70 years or more of age.

We first became aware of the plantation while running a breeding bird
mini-route to sample populations on May 29.  We were resampling the route
today when we heard the adults in the spruce.

In 1997 Roger Clapp of the National Museum of Nature History wrote in his
book "Egg Dates for Virginia Birds" that no nest with eggs had been found in
Virginia and that there are very few nesting records for the state.  He
wrote that only two nests with young had been found, both in 1952 on Sapling
Ridge at elevations 3,900 feet and 3,800 feet.

Kinglets have been expanding their range into low elevation spruce
plantations in the Northeast, according to the Pennsylvania breeding bird atlas.

Later in the morning we joined Tom Blevins, a wildlife tech with the
Jefferson National Forest, who was conducting point counts for
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.  We took him to see the kinglet nest and he made
a few photos with a snapshot-type camera.

Let's go birding.....

Wallace Coffey
Bristol, TN  


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  • » [Bristol-Birds] Disjunct kinglet nest in Smyth Co., VA